Genre: Horror Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 26 min.
Release Date: July 11th, 2013 MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante Actors: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassie Scerbo, Jaason Simmons, Heather Jocelyn Blair, Sumiko Braun, Diane Chambers, Julie McCullough, Aubrey Peeples
wenty miles off the coast of Mexico, Captain Santiago (Israel Sáez de Miguel) demands $1 million from businessman Mr. Palmer (Marcus Choi) for his latest illegal catch of sharks. Oddly, they conduct negotiations while on a boat in the middle of the ocean. When the ship moves into turbulent waters, where Hurricane David has concocted a tornado of sorts, a bevy of sharks are thrown across the deck to make quick work of the crew before the cyclonic waves pull the vessel up into the air.
On the nearby beach, skilled surfer Finley “Fin” Shepard (Ian Ziering) realizes that numerous sharks are swimming close to the shore and beginning to attack swimmers. His good friend Baz (Jaason Simmons) is one of the unlucky ones, suffering a bite on the leg. As the hurricane barrels toward the Santa Monica shoreline, threatening to be the first ever to hit California, Fin calls his ex-wife April Wexler (Tara Reid) – primarily to check on his daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peeples). But April is largely unconcerned about the impending catastrophe. When the storm does strike, Fin’s bar is one of the first buildings to be demolished, putting bartender Nova Clarke (Cassie Scerbo) out of a job and faithful drinker George (John Heard, failing to accurately channel Jeff Goldblum from “Jurassic Park”) out of a place to imbibe. Despite plenty of destruction, severe flooding, sharks swimming across the streets, a few deaths, and several injuries incurred throughout the city, Fin and his crew journey deeper into Santa Monica to collect Claudia and, later, her brother Matt (Chuck Hittinger). As they work their way across Los Angeles, they must eventually brave a full-on shark-filled tornado.
During several CG scenes, the cinematography seems to lose all of its color, desaturating until it’s almost grayscale. It hardly matters, since the majority of the special effects are of such pitiful quality that they can’t convince of real gushing water, let alone shark attacks or colossal waterspouts. And for some reason, a few shots of computer-animated cars make an appearance. This is made worse by stylized editing, cheesy songs with an overdramatic score, what looks to be archival footage of surfing and seemingly stolen clips from “National Geographic,” hilarious foreshadowing via news alerts, unrealistic heroism, sharks getting shot with a shotgun in midair, sharks learning how to climb up ropes, a nitrous-equipped Hummer, a brief explanation of how a sharknado could actually materialize, and the most ludicrous solution for defeating sharks raining down upon the L.A. populace (involving aerially dropping makeshift bombs and arming the survivors with chainsaws).
To satisfy fans of really bad horror films, the overt silliness is engulfed by bloodied waters, severed limbs, random deaths, explosions, all sorts of overkill, and Tara Reid looking like she was previously assaulted by a shark. Cutting straight to the action, there’s very little setup, even less character development, and zero embellishing of the transparent plot. The dialogue is terrible, Nova’s secret story regarding a scar on her leg and an intense hatred of sharks is beyond laughable, and characters defiantly seek martyrdom at every turn. “We’re gonna need a bigger chopper,” exclaims Nova, demonstrating for the umpteenth time that the screenwriters aren’t afraid to mock their own farcical script. “Sharknado” revels in its attempt to be a movie that is “so bad it’s good,” but only accomplishes this rare classification half of the time. At least the film closes with an original song entitled “The Ballad of Sharknado.”
– Mike Massie