What the hell can you say about a film titled, SHARKNADO? If you know your cheesy movie production companies than The Asylum should jump right out at you. Who else other than The Asylum would take one of nature’s fiercest forces, the tornado, and add nature’s perfect killing machines, sharks, to it? Let me save you the trouble of reading this entire review. If you’re the kind of person who can’t just sit back and enjoy an intentionally shitty flick, then you’re going to hate SHARKNADO. If you’re the kind of person who can’t help but tear apart horribly constructed plots with plot holes big enough to sail an aircraft carrier through, then you’re going to hate SHARKNADO. But if you enjoy getting some buddies together, cracking a few beers, and ripping on a bad film a la Mystery Science Theater 3000, then you going to love this film!!
SHARKNADO begins on a rather subtle note. Somewhere out in the middle of the ocean a waterspout has formed and has sucked up what is perhaps the largest school of sharks ever. I mean literally hundreds and hundreds of sharks are sucked up into this thing and are carried away. So yes; right from the get-go we have an inaccurate title. It should be “Sharkspout.” But I digress. The “tornado” is part of a hurricane that is tearing apart Mexico and which is gradually making its way up to the coast of California.
As it is with your typical Asylum film formula, after we get an opening scene of disaster we then switch over and meet the primary cast. There’s Fin (Ian Ziering), a retired championship surfer who now owns a bar on the beach; April (Tara Reid), Fin’s estranged ex-wife; Nova (Cassie Scerbo), a cute waitress at Fin’s bar who has a crush on Fin and who also has a secret hatred of sharks; Baz (Jaason Simmons), Fin’s buddy from Australia; Claudia (Aubrey Peeples), Ian’s estranged daughter; Matt (Chuck Hittinger), Ian’s estranged son; and George (John Heard), one of Fin’s drunk customers. There was of course ample opportunity to create a love triangle between Fin, Nova, and April, but it never happens. Sure there was opportunity to create a more human story by having Fin reconnecting with his estranged son and daughter, but it never happens. Writer Thunder Levin (who wrote and directed The Asylum’s mockbuster, AMERICAN WARSHIP and is the writer of the upcoming Asylum mockbuster, ATLANTIC RIM … I’m not kidding) decides to keep SHARKNADO on target and give us plenty of action with scenes of disaster as we watch the hurricane slam into California and flood the streets. But those flooded streets aren’t empty … the high waters bring in the sharks so we have hundreds of sharks swimming around in the streets of Los Angeles. But as the waters slowly start to ebb and the sharks are whisked back out to sea, the danger is just beginning because that waterspout from the opening (you remember, the one full of sharks) is now coming ashore as well.
It’s all pretty stupid people. The editing is pretty horrible even for an Asylum film, the CGI sharks are laughable, the plot is a minefield of subplots that go nowhere with story lines that feel forced, and the dialogue is ridiculous. But with all this being said, SHARKNADO is also a shitload of fun. How could you not love the image of sharks falling from the sky eating people in the middle of Los Angeles? And these must be super sharks because they adapt quite nicely to chlorinated pool water!! Sure it makes absolutely no sense but I found myself enjoying this one profusely!! I watched this one with my eight and five year olds and they were having a blast with it as well. It’s hard to be scared when the CGI sharks look about as scary as a bathtub toy!!
SHARKNADO aired on the SyFy channel (I know; real shocker) but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of ripped limbs and other gory scenes. It wasn’t too excessive but it had a shitload more gore in it than AMERICAN MARY (That’s right people, I recommend watching SHARKNADO over AMERICAN MARY). There are also two chainsaw scenes here that will have you standing up and cheering. The second chainsaw scene is bound to become as popular as the shark jumping out of the water and taking out an airliner in MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS!!
Everything right up to the ridiculous way our heroes decide to kill the sharks in the tornado is just hokey!! Matt, Fin’s son, flies a helicopter up to the various tornados (did I mention there were multiple shark-infested tornados??) and Nova drops homemade bombs into the funnels thereby killing the sharks. Not sure how the physics behind that goes but it seemed to work well for them. When the helicopter first approached one of the tornados and Nova saw all the sharks she muttered, “I think we’re gonna need a bigger chopper.” Nice nod to JAWS!!
There’s nothing in SHARKNADO that’s going to win any awards, and it wasn’t made to. This is simply a “so bad it’s good” film that was made on a tight budget with some washed up stars from yesteryear who are trying to act like they’re taking all this seriously. It’s a mess of a film, but it’s also one helluva fun mess. When all the sharks were swimming around and attacking people in the streets of Los Angeles I couldn’t help but think of the film BAIT (my review). But whereas BAIT was able to take a silly premise and make it seem possible, SHARKNADO is just pure B-movie fun through and through. If you’re looking for a fun, cheesy film with sharks flying out of the sky and where you can turn your brain off for a few hours, then SHARKNADO is the film for you. Movie message boards all over the internet are already calling this one “the best worst movie ever.” Now if that’s not a compliment then I don’t know what is!! I’ll leave you with one question: With the popularity of both shark and zombie films, when are we gonna get a zombie-shark mashup?? I’m just sayin’. It’s your move Asylum. Don’t miss this one.
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 4 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer