Movie Review – Sharknado (2013)

It’s not very often that you hear of a movie literally being so bad that it’s actually good.

That’s what happened with the direct-to-video shark movie, Sharknado.  As soon as the movie was aired on the SyFy Channel on July 11, 2013, the movie immediately received a flood of response on the social networks.  The movie’s ludicrous plot and incredible corniness sparked a media frenzy.  Syfy channel aired the movie a couple more times, and each viewing received more viewers.

The premise of Sharknado is that a hurricane in the Pacific Ocean spawns waterspouts that lift man-eating sharks into the air.  The storm strikes southern California, and through storm surge and tornadoes, the sharks wreck havoc on the people.  It’s a bloody battle so incredibly corny that it has to be seen to be believed . . . . and then seen again while drinking heavy amounts of alcohol with your friends.

Sharknado (2013) - movie poster

Sharknado (2013) – movie poster

Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, Sharknado stars Ian Ziering as Finley “Fin” Shepard, a former surfer and the owner of a bar on a pier.  Also in the film is Tara Reid as April Wexler, Fin’s ex-wife, and John Heard as George, one of the regulars at Fin’s bar.  The rest of the film is a cast of nobodies as one would expect in a corny direct-to-video movie.

Sharknado begins out in the Pacific Ocean as Hurricane David spawns waterspouts that magically suck hundreds of fierce sharks out of the ocean.  It’s implied that the remaining sharks stayed in the ocean within the vicinity of the hurricane, and they apparently became extremely fierce and really pissed at human beings.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Near the storm is a fishing boat where the ship’s captain is trying to make a shady deal with a Japanese businessman.  The Japanese man pulls out a pistol and tries to double-cross the captain, but their deal is interrupted by large waves from the hurricane.  The two men have a small gun battle on the main deck of the ship as it rocks in the waves.  Suddenly a shark lunges out of the water and grabs the Japanese man, dragging him to his death in the ocean.

The captain thinks that he has won until his boat drifts into a waterspout and is pulled into the air.  While airborne in the waterspout, the captain is repeatedly attacked by sharks that are also flying through the air.  It’s a bloody mess as the sharks kill the ship’s captain.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

The movie then jumps to the beach community of Santa Monica, California.  Residents in the area have noticed a change in the air and the seas with the approach of Hurricane David.

The people in Santa Monica include Finley “Fin” Shepard (Ian Ziering), a former surfer and owner of a bar on a pier, and Fin’s Aussie friend Baz (Jaason Simmons).  At Fin’s bar are Nova Clarke (Cassie Scerbo), the bartender, and George (John Heard), one of the bar’s regular customers.  Nova has scars on her leg that she doesn’t like to talk about, and George continually hits on Nova despite being over twenty years older than the girl.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Just off the beach, a surfer girl tries to impress Fin by showing him how to surf a wave.  Suddenly a shark knocks the girl into the water, and then a pack of sharks kills her.  Sharks attack another swimmer, and another shark bites Baz on the leg.  Fin comes to Baz’s aide and the two of them escape from the sharks.  It’s a bloody mess on the beach as paramedics try to help the shark attack victims.

Apparently Baz’s bite wound really wasn’t that bad as he’s up and walking and drinking at Fin’s bar like an hour later.  As everybody is having a good time (it’s obvious that nobody was shaken up by the death of the surfer girl or the other swimmer that was brutally attacked), there’s a news broadcast by an extremely annoying reporter named Jonni Waves (Julie McCullough).  Jonni reports on the danger and approach of Hurricane David (which was caused by global warming, of course) and its imminent impact on southern California.  The people look outside and see nasty clouds and tremendous rolling waves heading right for the pier and coastline.  Oh no!

Fin calls his ex-wife April Wexler (Tara Reid) to warn her about the approaching hurricane, but she doesn’t care.  She only thinks that Fin is calling her about money.  Whatever.  She’s an annoying person herself.  Fin then closes his bar and sends everybody home because of the storm, but it’s too late.  A large wave slams into the building and a shark is thrown into the bar.  People panic and Nova kills the shark by impaling its head with a pool cue stick.  The people then flee the bar into the pouring rain and howling wind.  Keep in mind that it was nice and sunny just a few moments earlier.  I’d guess that the extremely rapid change in weather was also caused by global warming.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

The pier is destroyed and people have to dodge not only debris but more sharks as well.  The storm winds and waves are just dumping the poor sharks everywhere.

Shortly later it’s again a sunny day and we see some of the wreckage caused by the hurricane.  According to the news report the pier was destroyed and several people were killed by the sharks.  Fortunately, it looks like many of the cars and trucks parked further up the beach survived without receiving any damage.  The same goes true for other buildings along the shore.  Somehow the force of the storm was concentrated on mainly the pier.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Fin decides to head to April’s house to check on her and his daughter Claudia as well.  Baz, Nova and George all pile into Fin’s jeep and join him for the trip.  Suddenly the skies darken and the rain comes pouring down.  The streets begin to flood and soon the people see sharks swimming through the flooded streets.  Some of the sharks start ramming into the jeep and Nova wants to kill them with a shotgun, but Fin prevents her from doing so.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

The gang soon runs into a minor traffic jam on one of the roads.  There are cars stopped and people standing around them.  Obviously the people are not aware of the nearby flooded streets full of really angry sharks.  Suddenly large waves sweep water over the barriers and water and sharks are washed down to the stopped cars.  Knowing the approaching danger for those people, Fin, Baz, Nova and George leave the safety of their vehicle to help the stranded motorists.  They’re able to help the people run to safety and even save a dog trapped in a woman’s car.  Just when it seems like they’re in the clear, a large wave hits George and he is eaten by a few sharks.

Fin, Nova and Baz climb back into Fin’s truck and make their way to April’s house.  All around them are scenes of chaos as sharks fly through the air and land on structures and people, and sharks also swim out of overflowing sewers and drains.  It’s a shark nightmare!

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

They finally make it to April’s house.  She’s an uncaring bitch who desperately needs to be eaten by a shark.  Sadly, that does not happen, and Fin practically has to force April to allow him and his friends into her house.  Inside the house they meet Claudia Shepard (Aubrey Peeples), a useless girl who always feels left out with her parents, and Collin (Christopher Wolfe), April’s preppy and arrogant boyfriend.

Collin doesn’t believe in the danger of flooded streets full of sharks.  When he goes to look out a window, a wave of water breaks the window and instantly floods the lower floor of the house.  A shark swims into the house and attacks and kills Collin.  The rest of the people escape outside while Fin manages to kill the shark before it attacks anybody else.

The gang piles into the vehicle and pulls away before April’s house is destroyed in a landslide.  The decide to head to a local airport where Fin and April’s son Matt is currently taking flight lessons.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

While driving to the airport the gang spots a school bus stranded in the flood water and being circles by sharks.  Fin thinks that there may be children trapped inside of it, so he stops on the overpass and helps.  He uses ropes and gear to rappel down to the school bus.  Sure enough, there are trapped children.  Fin arranges to have Baz pull each child up to the safety of the overpass.  The bus driver, Robbie (Robbie Rist), is hauled up after the children.  Fin goes up last and has to dodge sharks that jump out of the water.  He makes it to safety but then has to deal with chunks of flying debris from the Hollywood sign.  Robbie is killed when one of the giant letters lands on him.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Just before they resume their trek to the airport, Fin and April see several waterspouts that were spawned by Hurricane David.  Swirling in the air around the waterspouts are dozens of sharks.  Hopefully such a sight wouldn’t panic the locals and send them scrambling for shelter . . .

The gang continues driving but they’re attacked by sharks that have been thrown through the air.  These aren’t ordinary sharks, either.  After being pulled out of an ocean and thrown for miles through the air, these sharks can land on top of pavement, vehicles and buildings without being knocked unconscious or suffering any damage.  These sharks make a crash landing and then terrorize everything in sight.

Fin’s vehicle is damaged and they have to abandon it before the flames reach the gasoline.  The gang runs away moments before it explodes in a fireball.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

The people make it to a liquor store and get some supplies before heading out again.  Inside the store they see a breaking news story where Jonni Waves reports the sighting of three waterspouts, each of them EF-4 strength and forecast to intensify to EF-5 when they reach the shore.  That’s especially remarkable as tornadoes in hurricanes rarely reach the strength of EF-2.  Most hurricane-spawned tornadoes are EF-0 and EF-1.  Those super tornadoes within Hurricane David must also be the fault of global warming.  Damn you, global warming!

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

To make it to the airport and reach Matt, the gang steals a vehicle from a nearby lot, and they race across the city.  This speeding attracts the attention of the police department (Shouldn’t the cops be busy killing all of those menacing sharks?), and a high-speed chase ensues.  Baz uses a nitrous boost to achieve top speed and outrun the cops.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Just as they reach the Van Nuys Airport, the gang spots a dangerous “sharknado” looming on the horizon.  It must be that EF-5 tornado that Jonni Waves was warning the residents of Los Angeles.  All around the vortex of air are dozens of killer sharks!

The people search the flight school and Nova finds Matt Shepard (Chuck Hittinger) hiding in a hanger with the other flight students.  When the tornado strikes and sharks begin to land on the hanger’s roof, the gang knows that they need to find a way to save the rest of the city from the danger.  Obviously nobody else in the city cares about Hurricane David or the hundreds of sharks that are trying to kill and eat everybody in sight.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Outside of the hanger is a helicopter (thankfully it was untouched by the tornado, flying sharks, or any flying debris), and Matt informs them that he can fly it.  He’s still a student pilot and has only soloed in it, but he’s the only person there with that much flight experience.  Their flight instructor was sucked out a hole in the roof when the tornado struck.  It’s also mentioned that Matt *probably* shouldn’t be flying in a hurricane or around tornadoes anyway.  It’s not exactly safe, especially in a helicopter with a student pilot at the controls.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Fin tells the gang that they need to find better weapons, and Matt leads the way next door to a hardware store.  Inside the store they equipment themselves with stuff like pickaxes, chainsaws, sledgehammers, and stuff to make explosives.  While they’re building the explosives, Nova shares the story of the scars on her leg with Matt.  It turns out that when she was young she was a shark attack survivor, but her grandfather, and other people, were killed by the sharks.  Her story explains why Nova hates the sharks with a passion.

Outside the store, the gang creates a crazy plan of using explosives to dissipate the tornadoes.  Baz uses some exceptionally bad science to explain that tornadoes are created when warm and cool air meet, and if they use explosives, then they can create enough warm air to neutralize the tornado.  So if they can fly the helicopter close to the tornadoes and toss explosives into them, then they can stop the storms and also kill the sharks.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Matt takes the controls of the helicopter and Nova climbs on board to help with the mission.  They fly into the storm and Fin covers them by using a pistol to shoot and kill the sharks flying through the air.  Nova tosses an explosive into the first tornado and it detonates, killing a bunch of sharks and dissipating the tornado.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

On the ground, Baz is loading explosives into the vehicle when a flying shark attacks grabs Baz’s leg.  The two of them are then swept away by the second tornado and Baz is killed.  Matt and Nova fly over that tornado (like that’s really possible), and Nova’s explosive stops the second tornado.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

The third tornado is heading straight to downtown Los Angeles.  Nova throws an explosive into the twister, but it doesn’t hit correctly and the tornado is not destroyed.  A flying shark grabs the helicopter’s skid and Nova tries to fight it.  She slips and another flying shark swallows Nova whole.  Matt’s helicopter is damaged and he has to make an emergency landing.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

After making sure that Matt is not injured, Fin takes the truck that’s loaded with explosives and drives straight to the third tornado.  He quickly sets the explosives, hits the nitrous button, and leaps from the truck before it’s sucked into the air by the tornado.  The explosives detonate in a massive fireball and the tornado is destroyed.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Now that the powerful tornado has been destroyed, hundreds of still very angry sharks begin to fall from the sky.  Just as a great white is about to land on Claudia, Fin pushes his daughter out of the way, starts his chainsaw, and then jumps into the gaping mouth of the shark.  It seems like he’s dead until we hear the sound of a chainsaw and see it making a bloody cut through the side of the shark.  Out pops not only Fin but Nova as well.

Sharknado (2013) - (c) The Asylum

Sharknado (2013) – (c) The Asylum

Sharknado ends with Matt resuscitating Nova and bringing her back to life.  She and Matt become a couple and Fin gets back together with April.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Is Sharknado a good movie?

Hell no!

This is probably one of the cheesiest pieces of crap that you’ll ever watch.  The characters are lame, the acting is terrible, the story feels like it was written by an eighth grade student, the CGI and special effects are lousy at best, there are tons of inconsistencies throughout the movie, every scene with either a hurricane or tornado is horrible, and the movie has plot holes large enough to swallow the entire city of Los Angeles.

Sharks flying through the air from tornadoes spawned by a hurricane?  Really?  Really?!?

Perhaps why that is why this particular movie is such a hit on social media and has become a cult classic.

Sharknado is a film that you love to hate.  The best part of this incredibly asinine movie is being able to watch it with friends and laugh at its sheer stupidity.  You’ll be laughing at the ridiculous scenarios one moment (such as using a chainsaw to kill sharks or shooting sharks out of the sky with a pistol) while making sarcastic comments the next.  It’s almost as if Sharknado was designed to be ridiculed and insulted.

Sharknado (2013) – movie trailer

There’s absolutely no way that you should take any single moment in Sharknado seriously.  This movie is a combination of incredibly bad science with a middle school student’s idea of a shark-filled disaster film.  Seriously.  It’s *that* corny.  Perhaps that’s why it’s so much fun.

Well, it’s fun to a degree.  This is still an incredibly stupid movie.

Can you believe that they made a sequel?  Sharknado 2: The Second One will be shown on the SyFy Channel on July 30, 2014 at 9 pm eastern.

three stars

Baz – “Storm’s dying down.”
Nova – “How can you tell?”
Baz – “Not as many sharks flying around.”

———————

Fin – “We can’t just wait here for sharks to rain down on us.”

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