As bad as movies from The Asylum normally are (and believe me, they are terrible), the studio’s output often falls into the “so bad it’s good” category, as they’re pitched at the right tone to render them sufficiently enjoyable. Sharknado seemed like a can’t-miss prospect, with its cheesy premise possessing the potential to become an enormously entertaining B-movie. What a shame, then, that the finished product is a total bore, implemented with staggeringly inept filmmaking and featuring a cast of actors who just don’t seem to care. It would be foolhardy to expect quality from a film called Sharknado, but it’s almost completely unwatchable, lacking the B-movie charm present in other films of this ilk.
When a freak hurricane hits the California coast, hundreds of sharks begin moving into the flooded streets, terrorising the populace and eating anyone in their path. Former world champion surfer Fin (Ian Ziering) feels that something is amiss, closing his bar and rounding up his friends – including ditzy ex-wife April (Tara Reid) and his daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peeples) – to get to safer ground. Unfortunately, the high-speed winds soon lead to the formation of several tornadoes, which pass through the schools of sharks and render them airborne. Thus, the stage is set for countless man-eating fish to be thrown onto the bad actors.
Sharknado is dreadful from the very first frame. The opening is baffling, with director Anthony C. Ferrante exhibiting no interest in properly establishing atmosphere or place. We immediately see sharks being sucked into a tornado, when a more skilful filmmaking team would’ve eased into it. It’s more disastrous than you would imagine, as it denies us the time to get invested in the film and get in tune with it. The problem is only exacerbated by the tone-deaf editing, which is often harsh and jarring, in need of a proper rhythm. It’s also difficult to discern what day it is at any one time, as the colour palette often changes. In one shot it’s grey and cloudy, and in the next shot it’s sunny and fine. It also looks as if stock footage was used, compounding this issue. It’s bewildering that no editor failed to notice, and didn’t even try colour correction to fix the issue. Then again, I doubt anybody involved in Sharknado really cared; the makers probably wanted to excuse all of the picture’s glaring faults by saying “It’s meant to be bad!” Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to make a fun bad movie. Films like The Room and Plan 9 From Outer Space were the product of directors with visions who tried their hardest but obliviously fell short of the mark.
The digital effects team clearly did not care either, probably spending no more than two minutes on each VFX shot before moving on. Most dreadful is the interaction with the live action elements, as sharks do not often cause ripples in the sea, and splashes are poorly integrated with the live-action water. It comes with the territory, to be sure, but the best B-movies at least make an effort; last year’s Bait 3D mixed practical sharks and halfway convincing CGI beasties to decent effect. Here, the over-reliance on blatantly awful CGI detracts from the experience. Hell, it’s impossible to discern what types of sharks we’re actually looking at. Aside from the terrible filmmaking, Sharknado also flaunts a cast of actors who’ve clearly given up on life. The only actor enjoying himself here is John Heard, who’s woefully underused and exits the film in a sequence that’s more uncomfortable than funny. Heard was in Home Alone and other recognisable movies, hence his short screen-time is a real bummer. Meanwhile, former Beverly Hills 90210 star Ziering is horrendous, while Reid put in zero effort. It’s clearly stunt-casting for the novelty, but said novelty wears off quickly.
At times, Sharknado does deliver in the “so bad it’s hilarious” department, but most of the time it’s just plain bad, especially a ridiculously stupid scene during the climax involving a man leaping into a shark’s mouth which provoked nothing but face-palming from this reviewer. Oddly enough, there is an art to creating good bad movies, but Sharknado falls woefully short. It’s a tremendous waste of time and promise, and though it’s destined to become a cult curiosity, it will not have the same legacy or reputation as something like The Room. Sharknado actually received a minor theatrical release, which is ludicrous. I feel gravely sorry for anybody who paid actual money to see this piece of shit in a cinema. It’s maybe forgivable when broadcast on television since one can change the channel, but trapped in a cinema, doomed to endure 85 minutes of unwatchable guff? A suicide pill is more enticing.