Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Starring: Ian Ziering, Jaason Simons, Cassie Scerbo, John Heard, Tara Reid, Aubrey Peeples
Review: It’s safe to say that there are some film plots which only one studio would be bold (read insane) enough to attempt, as “The Asylum” prove once more here by bringing another fourteen year old’s fantasy to life, as they take a break from harassing the latest summer blockbusters, with their legendry Mockbusters from which the company has built its legacy on, having previously given us the likes of “Snakes On A Train”, “Transmorphers” and my personal favourite “Sunday School Musical”.
Seeing how many of these bargain basement style movies resolve around either sharks or hurricanes, I was half surprised to not see the poster for this one screaming “Sharks and Hurricanes Together At Last!!”. Still since the Asylum got on the radar of even the average movie goer with “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” they have made several attempts to recapture that same level of impossible to fulfil excitement they generated with a single shot of a giant shark leaping out of the sea to eat a plane, with previous attempts such as “Sharktopus” and “2-Headed Shark Attack” coming close, but it was when they released this image as part of their promo work for the film, that they saw that same level of interest once more.
Baring all the usual marks of questionable film making the Asylum have become so renown for the film opens randomly with a bunch of shark fishermen doing shady deals with an evil Japanese businessman, before they are suddenly consumed by a swarm of hungry sharks. It’s a random way to open the film, especially seeing how it has no relevance to anything which follows, but then the same could be said about the rest of the film, seeing how it flounders from one plot point to the next, as director Anthony C. Ferrante tries to ties together one random scene to the next.
As to also expected from the Aslyum they have once again dredged the has been actor ranks to put together their latest cast, as only further highlighted by the casting of Tara Reid whom for which this seems to be her usual output these days, having long since fallen from her glory days of “American Pie”. Supposedly she signed up for the film on the title alone, which would be more believable if the state of her career wasn’t as in such a slump, something I don’t think will be changing here seeing how bored she seems throughout. However despite not having a cast high in star power, they have still found a strong lead with Ziering best known for his years on “Beverly Hills, 90210” aswell as more recently performing with the Chippendales which E! Seemed to deem to be highly important during their coverage of the film. Still here is a likable and believable hero , while sharing a good on screen chemistry with both ex Baywatch star Simons and Scerbo, to the point where I was actually disappointed when they added Fins Ex-wife and daughter into the mix, let alone the random inclusion of his son whose appearance seemingly comes out of nowhere. This threesome make for a fearsome shark fighting force, if alas one that can’t seemingly resist any opportunity for a disposable one liner. One Tag along member of their group I did wish they had used more was Barfly / Drunk George who is way to underused, especially with his frequently hilarious antics such as his insistence on carrying his barstool around with him constantly, even using it as a shark club on occasion. While Heard might be slumming it by appearing here, he manages to make the character a much more likable character than he would have probably been had he been played by anyone else, especially when it character essentially consists of ramblingly drunkenly about whatever is happening around him.
Surprisingly for a DTV shark movie, there is a surprisingly large amount of gore on show, as the film for the most part avoids the usual sudden cutaways which seem to be current trend and instead gives us a few prolonged attacks and even a couple of shots of mauled limbs which made for a refreshing change of pace, even if most of the shark attacks largely consist of horrible CGI sharks leaping up at equally questionable CGI renderings of the character being attacked. It would seem though that director Ferrante’s man focus here is in finding a way to rack up as high a body count as possible, as especially seen during the opening beach attack which sees any character standing in 2 inches of water suddenly being attacked by unseen sharks. The main gore here though the man on shark violence here, which is where the film really gets creative, with exploding airtanks, shotguns and even a cabinet being used to combat the killer sharks. Elsewhere Ziering gets to tap into his inner Bruce Campbell, as he spends the last quarter of the film running around welding a shotgun / chainsaw combo, both of which he proves himself especially handy with even diving inside a shark to minutes later chainsaw his way out!
While limited in the budget it is still largely an entertaining affair, while frequently intentionally hilarious due to its low production values, which see’s CGI rain falling on bone dry streets and the weather suddenly changing from stormy to bright blue skies. However if the film has one main failing, it is that it is let down by its script more than its effects seeing how at this point, most fans of the asylum’s output will be already familiar with their level of film workmanship. Even with this expectation though the script only brings things down, especially once Fin has rescued his ex-wife and daughter which is also the moment that you release that the film is only halfway through. From this point it constantly seems to be the group moving from one random scene to the next as the film loses all sense of direction, before ending with a half-baked finale involving using home made bombs to stop the water spouts ravaging the city.
Unsurprisingly considering the amount of attention this film got on its release, the unimaginatively titled sequel “Sharknado 2: It’s Coming” (Surely “Sharknami” would have been the way to go) was pushed through pretty quickly, with the Asylum ensuring that they continued the madness is set to continue, while this film remains the kind of movie you might enjoy if stumbled across while late night channel surfing, but not one worth the effort of hunting down.