Sharknado (2013) (part 1 of 2)
Sharknado erupted on social media last Thursday, and took over Twitter like no other SyFy original movie in the network’s history. It’s unclear why—after the likes of 2-Headed Shark Attack and Sharktopus failed to make much of an impact—this particular film inspired 5,000 tweets per minute at one point in the evening.
But nevertheless, with everyone from Wil Wheaton to Seth Myers to Elizabeth Banks to Patton Oswalt to the creepy dude from the Twilight movies to Olivia Wilde to even Mia Farrow chiming in, Sharknado quickly turned into a huge, free-for-all, orgasmic spree of sarcasm. A sar-gasm, if you will.
(I’m totally trademarking “sargasm”, by the way. It’ll be even bigger than “sharknado”, just you watch.)
Amidst all the insanity, it’s easy to forget that there’s an actual movie here. That’s because there really isn’t an actual movie here. Like most SyFy originals produced by infamous mockbuster studio The Asluym, it’s a cobbled-together hodgepodge of stock footage, bargain basement CGI, not-so-creative editing, obvious green screen work, and on very, very special occasions, actual location shooting!
I think the Asylum put more effort into the movie where Debbie Gibson and Tiffany fight pythons and gators. And that’s a depressing thing to contemplate.
Despite all the social media hoopla, there’s not much that’s uniquely bad about Sharknado. It’s less boring than your average Asylum film, which is still pretty fucking boring. Probably the most entertaining aspect of Sharknado is that it appears to have been written by someone who has never actually heard another human being speak. It’s entirely possible we’re watching the first film written in the Divine Language.
Compared to your typical Asylum production, Sharknado boasts an all-star cast. Tara Reid somehow got top billing, despite having perhaps five lines. The real star of the show is Ian Ziering. The former Steve Sanders plays Finley “The Fin” Shepherd, a former champion surfer who now runs a bar on the Santa Monica pier. (Yes, the guy who ends up battling sharks is named “Fin”, for realsies.)
His best customer is played by Kevin’s dad from Home Alone, who’s apparently this bar’s Norm, only way drunker and creepier. When we first meet him, he’s perving all over Fin’s waitress Nova (who, given the name, has to actually point out that she’s not a stripper). In retaliation for his unwanted advances, Nova deliberately spills his drink, and immediately serves him another one. That’ll teach him!
Kevin’s Dad: Yeah, a free one, one that’s on the house, one that doesn’t cost me any money!
Just so we’re all clear on the concept of “free”.
Fin also has a surfing buddy, who’s most likely supposed to be Australian, given how he says “mate” a lot. And his name is “Baz”, because I guess that’s the only Australian name anyone could think of.
While they’re out surfing, Baz gets attacked by a shark. Luckily, Fin is there to rescue him. As they make their getaway on a jet ski, they have this choice exchange.
Fin: Etiquette? I thought you were Australian, not British!
But for Fin and his crew, the shark-related horror is only beginning. You see, due to global warming, a hurricane is about to hit Southern California for the first time ever (Thanks, Obama!). Not only that, it’s bringing to shore thousands of man-eating sharks of all shapes and sizes.
This disturbs Nova in particular, for reasons she won’t disclose. And it totally has nothing to do with this scar on her leg.
Yes, it’s blindingly obvious this is a shark bite, but the truth behind the scar is held back until the film’s closing moments like it’s a major revelation. Until then, she maintains she cut herself shaving.
And then the storm sends a shark flying in through the window of Fin’s bar. I mean, it really happens that abruptly. We go straight from a stock footage shot of the Santa Monica pier in broad daylight in crystal clear weather, to gusts of wind and rain carrying man-eating sharks directly to their prey.
Nova kills the shark with a pool cue, and everyone absorbs this event like sharks flying in through windows is just a thing that happens from time to time. But the storm grows worse, so the whole gang piles into an SUV and heads inland, making their way through streets that are not only flooded, but filled with sharks.
They attempt to get on the freeway, only to find shark-filled waves gushing over the on-ramp.
Fin: We’re gonna need faith to get through that!
They stop and help stranded motorists, but sadly, Kevin’s Dad gets caught in a shark wave and is quickly eaten. And then everyone completely forgets about him and he is never spoken of for the rest of the movie.
They finally meet up with Fin’s estranged wife (Tara Reid), and Fin’s teenage daughter. Fin wants to take them further inland, but Tara’s new boyfriend assures them he has the situation well in hand.
That’s when they spot sharks in the swimming pool, which somehow leads to the entire house being flooded with shark-infested water. New Boyfriend soon gets eaten, and he, too, is never spoken of for the remainder of the film.
From the top of the stairs, Baz looks down at the flooded living room and New Boyfriend’s blood churning through the water, and lets loose with a finely crafted zinger.
Yes. He really says that. Because what better way to defuse the tension of a shark attack than with jokes about period blood?