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Sharknado

Year: 2013
Production Co: The Asylum
Studio: SyFy Channel
Director: Anthony C Ferrante
Producer: Thunder Levin
Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard

Let's get one thing straight, I didn't expect quality. I expected something to be so bad it was good. What I didn't expect was something to be so badly made it excised all trace of the qualities that make a film of this class so bad it's good.

Even the worst movies – especially ones made nowadays with CGI, digital colour correction and grading and all kinds of other tricks directors of yore never had – usually have semblances of continuity and a consistent tone.

Sharknado is like something a bunch of film students with a Macbook Pro cooked up after only writing one draft of the script and driving out to locations when they could be bothered (for the record it all cost $1m, actually pretty high for a TV show).

I mention continuity above because it was the aspect that struck me the most. With a hurricane bearing down on Santa Monica strong enough to generate waterspouts that will pick up schools of sharks and fling them all over Los Angeles, the sun in shining happily just a dozen miles or so away downtown. Said waterspouts appear right behind the LA downtown skyline, in what would be Dodger Stadium and Alhambra (ie nowhere near the water).

In another scene, flooding has left about five feet of water on the ground floor of a stately Beverly Hills home – enough for a shark to swim in and menace those holed up – but when they make their escape outside, there's just a hard rain falling and no flood.

Guy With a Past bar owner Fin (Ian Ziering) has a squad you know is going to join him on his epic journey of schlock – the loser customer George, the Australian ocker sidekick Baz and the cute bartender who wants to take things further.

When a huge storm the news is talking about bears down on Santa Monica Pier (sending the Pacific Park ferris wheel crumbling in spectacularly cheap fashion), Fin orders everyone out and heads east to make sure his ex wife (Tara Reid, looking like she's had a big night out) and teenage daughter (the only actress playing it straight and looking very out of place as a result).

They crisscross LA, somehow having to go through downtown to get to Beverly Hills from the coast, through the most atrocious special effects you've ever seen, spouting not just silly dialogue but seemingly the first thing that came into writer's head. And with a name like Thunder Levin, seems like he was showing us his best work.

Where Plan 9 From Outer Space took decades to be a cult hit in its creative, aesthetic and narrative ineptitude, the SyFy channel were going for that kind of appeal from the get go, and judging by the response online in the lead-up and during the broadcast, they got what they were after.

With such clear intentions of being crap it's almost unfair to be highlighting flaws. But there were too many flaws of the sort I honestly don't think they wanted, nor would want people noticing. To be completely fair though, it's probably a hoot in a big crowd with beer and pizza.

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