22nd Sep2013

‘Sharknado’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Ian Ziering, Jaason Simmons, Tara Reid, Cassie Scerbo, John Heard, Alex Arleo, Neil H. Berkow, Heather Jocelyn Blair | Written by Thunder Levin | Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante

sharknado

When a freak tornado swamps Los Angeles, thousands of man-eating sharks are sucked into the swirling vortex, terrorizing the waterlogged populace and flooding the city with shark-infested seawater. Surfer and bar-owner Fin (Ziering) sets out with his friends Baz (Simmons) and Nova (Scerbo) to rescue his estranged wife April (Reid) and teenage daughter Claudia from the sharks raining down from the skies. With nature’s deadliest killer ruling sea, land, and air, they soon realise that the best chance they have to survive the deadly shark-infested maelstrom is to find a way to destroy it themselves.

What can I say about Sharknado that hasn’t already been said? A film that caused a social media furore on its Syfy channel debut, this is another product of The Asylum made for the Syfy channel and is yet another “concept first, plot second” flick The Asylum have become somewhat synonymous with. Thankfully the Syfy channel has become home to these types of cheesy low-budget creature-features – genre which has has renewed success on television since the debut of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus – and I hope they continue to be. This time round Syfy/The Asylum team up with Anthony  C. Ferrante, who has scripted a number of well-received horror films (Boo, Scream of the Banshee) in the past as well as some truly awful movies – House of Bones I’m looking at you. Thankfully Sharknado sits somewhere in between: yes it’s incredibly cheap and cheesy but it’s SUPPOSED to be!

It’s easy to see why Sharknado captured everyone’s imagination – its dumb, loud and incredibly stupid but it’s also fun. The cast look like they’re having fun and that translates well on screen which means us, as an audience can have fun with the film too. Disaster movies are a staple of Hollywood, as are creature features/monster movies, so why wouldn’t a mash-up of the two work?

But, for me, the reason Sharknado works is it’s script, which was penned by one of the coolest sounding screenwriters ever, Thunder Levin, who also wrote and directed The Asylum’s Battleship and After Earth knock-offs, American Warships and AE: Apocalyse Earth. Levin was also responsible for co-writing Atlantic Rim, another recent better-than-average Asylum “mockbuster” of the big-budget kaiju flick from Guillermo Del Toro. Here he manages to imbue the film with a sense of fun (without resorting to knowing winks to the audience), which I can safely say was missing from some of the more recent Syfy channel giant monster movies flicks, his script managing to bring back what I like to call the “WTF? sense of wonder” that was present on Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus’ debut.

And that climax? Friggin’ genius! Really looks like someone’s been watching their low-budget horror movies lately. Speaking of the climax, just a quick note to casting directors… Cassie Scerbo is one hell of a leading lady, convincingly balancing sexiness with a bad-ass attitude (even in an OTT production like this) – in my opinion she needs to be in more movies pronto… And no it’s not JUST because she’s a hottie!

Stupid, dumb, fun and funny, Sharknado is one of those movies that demands little from its audience other than to sit back and enjoy. It ticks all the boxes for me – roll on Sharknado: The Second One I say.

Sharknado is released on DVD in the UK on October 7th, courtesy of StudioCanal

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