A hurricane that strikes the L.A. coast brings with it a deluge of sharks that wash inland and begin to attack the general populace. Bar owner Fin Shepherd (Ian Ziering) ventures out into the fray to ensure the safety of his family (Tara Reid, Chuck Hittinger, Aubrey Peeples).
Yeah, that’s the general premise of this flick. What really happens is that there’s a hurricane that washes sharks closer to the shore which in turn flings them inland to cause havoc which causes massive flooding which allows the sharks to swim through the streets which also causes a number of tornados filled with sharks to demolish/devour anything in their path. Say all that in one breath.
If there’s one thing I can say that is absolutely positive about this film is that it is never boring. The pacing rarely lets up and there is always something going on. That something is usually pretty ridiculous like someone getting flattened by a falling shark or a house crumbling to the ground due to a shark infested flood. From the beginning the ball gets rolling with an illegal shark fin business deal going awry at sea thanks to the brewing storm and keeps the momentum going until the end credits roll.
Director Anthony C. Ferrante may not know how to direct an actor or properly block out an action scene that makes sense, but he obviously knew that his film was going to be beyond insane and ran with it. I give him props for not taking any single bit of is seriously and always playing it up for laughs. He succeeded in making one of the most off-the-wall “WTF?!” movies that actually works (another in that rare category, Ninja III: The Domination, was recently released on DVD/BluRay and will be reviewed soon). Honestly though, I feel like the planets aligned and he got lucky in more ways than one, because any part of this flick could have derailed the entire train, but he somehow managed to keep it on track.
Anyone watching these movies for the acting is deluded beyond belief. The shit performances are usually one aspect that makes these so damned entertaining. We all know Tara Reid is a talentless bimbo and she does nothing here to change that fact. In one scene her boyfriend gets devoured right in front of her and it doesn’t phase her one bit. She wears the same constipated expression on her face for the entire film, just like she does in every other one in which she stars.
Ian Ziering, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying himself and actually puts a lot of enthusiasm into his performance. If it wasn’t for him I’m sure most of the movie wouldn’t have worked, but he sells all the batshit insane crap going on like a pro. The same goes for the rest of the cast.
But these are only the good aspects. It’s the bad ones that make watching these movies so much fun. The script by Thunder Levin (seriously?!) is a big clusterfuck of random ideas and fromage that combines a disaster movie with a monster movie. The intentional humor falls flat and there is absolutely zero character development. Dialogue is stolen directly from Jaws (Robert Shaw’s Indianapolis speech), chainsaws act like katana swords and people eaten whole by sharks survive without a scratch.
Everything looks cheap and there are lots of clues as to how the filmmakers kept the budget under $1m. For example, all the scenes in the Humvee were shot with the rear window smashed up to the point where there is nothing visible from the outside, therefore all the crazy shit going on around the characters is described by them instead of having to use greenscreens and CGI to show it.
The editing is also piss poor. There are scenes that were horribly edited for content, such as Ziering ramming a shark’s eye with a surfboard to stop it from attacking his buddy. We see him rush the shark with the board, then hear a loud squish sound effect and cut to a shot of the shark swimming away. But on the flip side we see someone unload shotgun blasts point blank into a shark’s face with no cutaways. It’s an odd mix of violence that we get to see and not see, but I’m sure we will get an uncut version on home video.
Additionally, the special effects look like they belong in a PS2 game, the actor playing Ziering’s son (Chuck Hittinger) looks like he’s the same age as his father and the fact that the sharks are able to survive outside of the water for hours and hours defies Mother Nature’s design. But it’s all in the name of a good time.
This movie has no reason to exist, yet it does. Am I cool with it? Hell yeah! It’s flicks like this that keep me entertained when I’m down in the dumps or just need a mindless diversion from life. Sharknado is “so bad it’s good” fun through and through. Bring on the sequel and spin-offs!
3.5 out of 5