Sharknado (2013)

Rating: C

Dir: Anthony C. Ferrante
Star: Ian Ziering, Cassie Scerbo, John Heard, Tara Reid

There’s a fine line between smart-stupid and just flat-out stupid, and it’s difficult to say exactly what the difference is. It’s clear here that Ferrante’s heart is in the right place, but this falls short of the mark set by the likes of Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. Hard to say if it’s trying too hard, or not trying hard enough. There are moments of sublime imagination – witness the flying shark being cleft in two with a chainsaw, in a manner befitting a Hattori Hanzo katana – just not enough of them. The plot, such as it is, revolves around former surf champion and bar-owner Finley ‘Fin’ Shepherd, who head inland to try and rescue his ex-wife (Reid) and kids, after a freak hurricane floods Los Angeles, and sends a tidal-wave of sharks out of every liquid-producing orifice short of your kitchen tap.

They have to be fended off with shotgun, baseball-bat and, yes, chainsaw, as Fin tries to round up his family, and then watch as his helicopter-pilot son attempts to save the city by blowing up the tornados with improvised explosive devices. Yeah, there’s just so much wrong here, be it meteorological or icthyological “facts” that are no so much disposed of, as ignored completely. I could handle that, if much of interest or amusement resulted, but there’s really way too much footage of the cast driving around in an SUV, bitching at each other, rather than what we want to see, which is sharks flying through the air. Trust me, watching Reid try to act, will leave you desperately hoping for something to gnaw off your limbs, so you can escape.

And, oh, how are the mighty – Heard, in this case – fallen. Ziering isn’t actually too bad, there are moments where the film does get it right, such as deadpan theft of lines from Jaws, and some of the effects are actually half-decent. However, there are too many moments where the cheapjack production values (such as the fact that life is still, clearly, going on elsewhere, without interruption, and in a very sunny Los Angeles) interrupt the required “buying into” the production. Certainly, a case where the poster is likely more memorable than the finished feature.