Breaking Twitter in half on its US Syfy broadcast, cheapo monster movie Sharknado divided the world into two types of people: those who thought Sharknado was crap and were somehow surprised and offended by that, and those who thought it was crap and didn’t.
In space age 2013, crap has become just another consumer option (one that Sharknado progenitors Asylum have filled with all the ruthless business savvy of a B-movie Starbucks) and clearly drawn from the same latter-day-Corman well of big dumb monster movies, Sharknado simply follows its keen sense of fun first, sacrificing narrative logic on the unholy altar of entertainment.
As a hurricane approaches California bringing a swarm of sharks with it, the inhabitants of a pier-front bar must at first survive the deluge of perfunctory CG devastation and unconvincing weather effects (everyone gets dried off rather quickly), to retrieve the bar owner (Ian Ziering)’s son, daughter and prickly ex-wife (Tara Reid). Eventually though, they can run no more and must take a stand to halt the oncoming Sharknado – chainsawing oncoming sharks in half and batting them out of the sky with shotgun blasts.
Yes, it’s crap, but it’s a film you’d be more inclined to re-watch than than any number of lumpen big-budget blockbusters to also have come out the same year.
Will Smith-fronted sci-fi actioner After Earth may have impressive CGI beasties, and Brad Pitt’s bloated zombie apocalypse World War Z may have depicted global destruction with so much visceral realism that it could have been sold as a documentary from the future, but neither of those films are even as remotely enjoyable as watching a barely convincing twister deposits waggling sharks onto people’s balconies.
Obviously mockery is justified – encouraged even, and it’s tough to imagine that it’s not part of the fun. Why else cast American Pie‘s run-down Reid, Home Alone‘s surprisingly game John Heard or Beverly Hills 90210‘s aging heart-throb Ziering other than for the amusement of cynical 20/30-somethings, guffawing through their pizza and live-tweeting jokes about the water resistant properties of lip-gloss.
Standing absolutely no chance to achieving the scale of destruction they wish to depict – there’s nonetheless a fairly impressive shot of a runaway ferris wheel rolling into a building, and some briefly convincing physical shark heads that barrel into shot – director Anthony C Ferrante has an eye for a quick thrill, passing the camera over sharks nose down through windows, or popping out of storm drains, and setting up big daft set-pieces.
Calling it “so bad it’s good” would be to do Sharknado a disservice; it’s knowingly bad and instead focuses its limited resources on doing all that it can do to raise a grin, rather than accidentally crashing through the skylight of entertainment in a perfect storm of bad decisions. If a good film is a film that entertains, then Sharknado is most definitely it, building a wonderfully lurid totem pole of stupidity to laugh along with.