Vic’s Review – “Sharknado” (2013)

"Enough Said!" Um, I don't think so.
“Enough Said!” Um, I don’t think so.

What’s it About?

When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature’s deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace.


“Enough Said!”“Sharknado” Tagline

Directed by Anthony Ferrante

Um I’m not sure I want to rate this one…

If you were fortunately enough, like I was, to be part of that first airing of “Sharknado” and you were on any social media then you know that the Universe as we know it almost imploded. So many people were tweeting about “Sharknado,” which aired on the SYFY Channel, that night that a black hole almost opened up on the internet. It was a huge phenomenon that just about every movie (and bad movie) fan was just about party to. “Sharknado” instantly became a unique sensation sparking coverage from CNN to FOX News and having celebs chatting about it as well.

The movie, made by the infamous “Mockbuster” movie studio, The Asylum, gained an instant cult celebrity and is hands down the best worst movie of 2013 so far. A shark movie that we all cringe at whenever some really flakey CGI, bad dialog and hopelessly stupid characters inhabit the screen in front of us. But what makes this a good bad movie is that it knows it’s bad and it wants us to laugh (I think) at these ridiculous situations and over the top shenanigans.

The CGI is expectedly bad and hokey which is the norm for films of this type from The Asylum. It just goes hand in hand. “Sharknado” is a different animal all together. When “Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus” established that just about every FX shot will be repeated with nauseating frequency, we began to accept the fact the these movies have next to zero budget for the FX which still look as if rendered on someone’s gaming laptop. The Asylum has a good thing going with making these bad movies.

It’s their bread and butter and while many of the studio’s detractors dislike their blatant ripping off of bigger and better movies, many others (like myself) don’t really mind. The Asylum has shown that they can make half decent flicks that are not entirely horrible like “Abraham vs Zombies” for example. So, with some effort they can throw into the ring a watchable movie.

But the case with “Sharknado” is indeed part of their tried and true formula. Make it stupid, make it funny and make it for 50 dollars. Oh and add some sharks! The Asylum know we revel in terrible movies and we hate when a bad movie is just plain bad. We want a bad movie that is good! And with “Sharknado,” The Asylum hits this one out of the park.

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"Go away you stupid Shark!"
“Go away you stupid Shark!”

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So, “Twister” meets “Jaws,” right? Nah. no way. Nothing that original. Director Anthony C. Ferrante and writer Thunder Levin (Is that really this dude’s name. Sounds like a UFC fighter’s name) who directed another Asylum classic, “American Warships,” deliver us a story about a huge waterspout / hurricane that scoops up what seems like a million man – chomping sharks and has them raining down on Los Angeles as a result.

We start off with some out of the gate hilarity and totally un-comprehensible action when a trawler (which has a confusing transaction going on between 2 shady dudes.) out in the ocean gets caught in the middle of the freak hurricane. It appears that they are in the midst of a school…no wait. Is it a school or a swarm of…no, that’s not right either. Maybe a shit load of sharks is a more scientific term. Anyway, the water surrounding the Trawler is infested with really cartoony looking CGI sharks.

Don’t these guys know what a shark is supposed to look like? Hello! Shark Week, guys? After a few fast shots and cuts of dodgy looking sharks coming at us through the dark and grainy waters we get to the action as the sharks are picked up by a ferocious wind and they get deposited on the deck of the Trawler then proceed to eat the crew, the mysterious well dressed dude and the Captain.

The poor Captain gets his face slowly eaten off by sharks that happen to just fly by and chomp off a piece here and a piece there until he’s just a standing pile of chum. Then the Trawler gets scooped up by the storm which looks really fake in true Asylum fashion, of course.

Then the story moves to Ian Ziering (he plays a dude named “Finn” – not going there) and his buddy Baz  (Jaason Simmons) who are hanging out in the water off a beach in LA. As they surf, swim and ride on jet ski’s, an ocean full of sharks sneak up on the swimmers who are one by one eaten in grand and over the top fashion by the CGI sharks that never really appear to be very frightening or realistic looking. Baz is bitten and as the storm approaches they make their way out of the ocean and to Fin’s bar where good ole John Heard (Cat People, C.H.U.D.), who plays George, is established as the “drunk guy” that can’t handle his liquor, looks like a washed up beach bum and flirts with Fin’s female staff.

As they try to evacuate, with people randomly running around with limbs missing and sharks holding on to legs, arms and heads, the storm hits them as do the gazillion sharks that drop randomly on everyone. It is hilarious as shit when we get some actors delaying reactions until the cameras are actually on them. Fin, Baz, George and Fin’s waitress, Nova (These names are too much) played by Cassie Scerbo (Teen spirit) all make a break for it to Fin’s ex-wife’s house.

Tara Reid (American Pie) plays Fin’s ex, named April and his daughter, Claudia (Aubrey Peeples). They hightail it to April’s place to save her and his kid from the Sharknado but not before encountering some zany mayhem that the sharks, flooding and hurricane cause. Eventually they make their way to Matt’s (Fin’s son) flying school where he is learning to fly planes and helicopters. Matt falls for Nova as he attempts to hide his crush. After that the movie just takes off into the stratosphere. See below for some stand out and wacky reasons for you to watch this movie.

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(“Sharknado” has it all and here are some examples of why it rules since I do not want to give out many spoilers):

– A runaway Ferris Wheel that bullets down the Pier mowing people down until it impales a building and stops. Just a brilliant scene all around. You will remain with your jaws wide open during the entire sequence.

– Bad CGI water that seems to come from nowhere. Like when the flooding takes over the Pier and Fin’s Bar. The water comes from the right, left bottom and top. It makes one dizzy just watching.

– Tons and Tons of stock footage. There are some really obvious and pretty bad inserts of real flooded places, bad weather, rainstorms and cars stuck in water. It has it’s place but sometimes the stock footage seems to be leftovers from The Weather Channel.

– Horrid reaction shots from the actors. Especially the victims. Some wait until the camera tilts or pans to them, they then take a deep breath and then scream. So bad it’s good. Others run around running into other people or just end up falling off railings and stairs. It seemed as if they were just told to “run around” and “act scared.”

– John Heard! WTF??? Yep, he’s in this movie and I kept asking myself why over and over again. He just phones it in but delivers a fantastic (SPOILER ALERT) death scene where some hokey CGI water envelops him and the sharkies do him in. Plus he runs around with a bar stool for his only means of protection. Huh??? I believe my son and I actually heard him tell the sharks as he was being attacked: “Get off of me!” Ergh. That is indeed a great parting last line. Worthy of Heard, himself? Not so sure about that. Dude must have lost a bet.

– Water everywhere then water nowhere to be found. Some scenes have rain, flooding and water everywhere and when our protagonist drive around LA we then get a peek of dry roads, bridges and overpasses. Huh? Where’d the water go?

– An absolutely hilarious school bus rescue from under a bridge. Baz and Fin decide to rope down, using a winch I think, to the stranded school bus and rescue the school children that are being, unsuccessfully, calmed down by their hippie bus driver. Fin makes it down and like five hours later the kids have been pulled up from the bus (which is shot so that we don’t see below a certain point because of the actual absence of water) and then it’s the driver’s turn and of course we think he’s not gonna make it but Ferrante has other plans for him.

– Finn gets attacked by leaping sharks as he tries to rope back up to the overpass. One gets stuck on the rope and decides to hang around.

– “My Mother always said that Hollywood would kill me!” – Nuff said.

– Ian Zeiring is the only actor that remotely acts in this movie even though he says and does some really stupid things.

– Terribly cliched. We have the drunk dude, the Aussie stud who knows all about anything shark related, the estranged wife and kids, the cranky, pissed off and combative daughter who “hates” Dad, the new boyfriend (who meets a hilarious end), the older son who digs a chick and has to prove to her that he’s brave and on and on it goes.

– There’s a “Indianapolis” moment ripped right out of “Jaws” with Finn’s daughter. It is so corny but strangely appropriate.

– Great death scenes that you have to see to believe. Just insane. There is one where a hanger attendant lady literally gets sucked up through the hanger roof by the storm in a non-shark related death. I would like to tell you about some others but you HAVE to watch it to appreciate it.

– Fin’s house gets flooded and then collapses. Once again, where does all this water come from when right before and then after there is no water to be had.

– Almost all of the action is illogical, unbelievable, improbable and incomprehensible.  Just the way we like it.

– Tara Reid’s wonderfully horrid acting and her incredible reaction shots. Her wide eyed, goofy and opened mouth shots are priceless.

– As the humans meet some grisly deaths so do the sharks. One actually gets it’s head blown off exposing what appears to be a kind of skull or bones. Some just plop down to the concrete with a big squish as they explode in a hail of funky CGI gore. Yep, it’s gross but it induces some giggling in it’s ridiculousness.

– The bright idea that bombs and explosives can actually stop a twister/tornado. Then even more incredulously that a helicopter can actually stay in the air while a hurricane is just destroying everything in it’s path. Pretty scientific, huh?

– How the hell do the Sharks stay up in the air for hours and hours and don’t die? They just spin around and around hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air. Even as they land on rooftops they are still alive and chomping away.

– A shark swallows someone whole in mid-air.

– Sharks crashing through billboard signs. Priceless!

– There is a hilarious senior citizen moment involving a pool that has a few sharks drop in and crash the old folk’s pool party.

– Finn’s son, Matt, (actor Chuck Hittinger) really knows how to act horrified and frightened while flying a helicopter (while Nova drops bombs into the sharknado)…not. The crash landing is an amazing sequence.

– Ok, I need to wrap this up…Um what else? Oh the money shot and the most incredible moment of “Sharknado” involves Finn (Ziering), a chainsaw, a very big great white in a very Matrix-like scene that ends up showing the most unbelievable return of a character, we thought dead, that has ever been filmed.

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Guys, I can go on and on. “Sharknado” is a must see in that it is chock full of what The Asylum delivers best. Bad cinema. If you can call it cinema. Bad dialog, dull acting, bad CGI, over the top sequences of mayhem and carnage. But most importantly it’s FUN! It’s stupid, atrociously shot and has really bad story development. The characters (which all kind of mesh well here)  all do really dumb things and they say the most irrelevant things when faced with danger.

This movie, though, has to be The Asylum’s best “worst” movie thus far. It’s fast, furious and has such a really far out story with the whole “hurricane swoops up sharks” thing. I can just see that meeting where “Sharknado” was greenlit. The Asylum just knew they were gonna score. And they scored big.

Coming Soon: “Sharknado: The Second One” Yep. That’s what it’s called. I am so there.

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  1. What I love about ‘Sharknado’ is that exemplifies the power of social media in creating pop-culture phenomenons. SyFy is famous for their weekly B-Movie SciFi/Horror/Disaster Flicks but ‘Sharknado’ changed everything. Two weeks after this aired it was been shown in theaters nationwide and what I just noticed last night was how it has even affected Netflix.

    Anyone who has been a Netlfix streaming subscriber from the beginning like you and I know that in the beginning, the biggest criticism of Netflix was that the amount these type of B-movie content in their catalog and very little in the arena of popular major studio films. At the time, what peole didn’t understand was that Netflix didn’t have the juice to get newer major studio releases and they couldn’t get new release DVD titles streaming because of the distribution license agreements that the studios had with the cable providers OnDemand/PPV), retail DVD distributors and then next in line were the premium cable networks.

    What Netflix did to combat this and to generating clout for themselves was to quickly build their television series library, thus growing their customer-base with guys like me who are far less concerned about films on Netflix than we are TV. This gave them credibility with Starz, who in-turn licensed their content (providing a back-door around the problem of exclusive licensing agreements for film content distribution). This increased credibility across the board has allowed Netflix to pursue content distribution deals with studios and studio-owned networks (e.g.: EPIX) for newer titles that they would have never been able to get in the beginning and though their library of bad B-movie offerings hasn’t decreased, the percentage of their library that these offerings occupy has been reduced drastically replaced by television series and major studio releases) and you’re not seeing new B-Movie titles show up with the frequency every month like you used to.

    Well, now that’s all changed after the success of ‘Sharknado.’ Schlock is now hip and Netflix is going with the trend. I was amazed to see how many B-movies from the last for decades were added within the last month and you can only draw the conclusion that ‘Sharknado’ is responsible for that.

    Whereas before, Netflix couldn’t hide that content quick enough, they are now scrambling to get as much of it into their library as possible. Pop-culture is fickle girl. isn’t she?

    • I must admit that Netflix has become a powerhouse with the amazing addition of so many great TV shows. I have been literally watching more TV shows than mainstream movies sometimes. While some more popular shows remain elusive (probably those DLA’s you mentioned) like “Orphan Black,” there are still so many incredible choices to pick from.

      Meanwhile the proliferation of the schlocky B and Z movies that infest Netflix continues. Like you said, now there is a demand for these types of flicks to entertain us because of the cheesy and fun elements that we enjoy once in a while. (A steady diet of crap could be a bad thing though, in the long run)

      I have noticed some older titles as well, say, from the 60’s and 70’s. Netflix has their finger on the cult movie pulse for sure. When “Sharknado” (Hopefully) hits Netflix I think the internet is going to overload.

      It was great to hear from you, Shawn! Stay in touch and thanks for stopping by, man.

  2. Great review. I really need to see this movie if only to laugh at Tara Reid’s terrible acting. She was also in another terrible SYFY creature feature called ‘Vipers.’ I highly recommend it…sort of.

    • Oh yeah! Vipers! I saw the promo for that. Oh boy, Tara does not disappoint in “Sharknado.” Those reaction shots are priceless and she has no clue how to emote when her character is in danger which makes the performance all the more laughable. I will check out “Vipers” for sure. Thanks. And Thanks for the follow! Much appreciated!

  3. Great review man! You’ve convinced me – definitely going out my way to track this one down haha! I love this whole rebirth of low-budget monster films that are coming out. Best tag line of all time too!

    • Haha! Yeah, that tagline is insane. The whole movie has to be seen to be believed. I hope you enjoy it. It’s goofy as hell but so entertaining. Sort of like that Snickers bar you have that you know is totally not good for you. Thanks for stopping by, Jim! I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I appreciate it, man!

  4. I wasn’t sure what to make of the movie. It was awful, terrible in every possible movie way imaginable but I just couldn’t stop myself watching…

    • Yes, that describes my experience too. Like a car wreck you can’t take your eyes off of. I literally froze upon watching a few of Tara Reid’s glorious reaction shots. Thanks for stopping by!

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