Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Horror
Directed by: Anthony C. Ferrante
Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassie Scerbo, Franki Muniz, David Hasslehoff
It probably goes without saying that Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is a ridiculous film. Ever since the equally ridiculous Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus became something of a break-out hit for them back in 2008, partners in crime Syfy and The Asylum have stepped up their particular brand of semi-ironic straight-to-dvd blockbusters to new levels until things reached a seemingly unsurpassable level of silliness with 2013’s Sharknado. That particular film, about a devastating tornado full of sharks, was such a success that it’s since spawned two sequels, the latest of which stretches that silliest of ideas to breaking point.
Things are going well for Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) as he collects an award for his heroic sharknado-defeating actions from the president of the United States and he is expecting a new child with his wife April (Tara Reid). Of course, this calm before the literal storm barely lasts and before long, a giant sharknado hits Washington DC, landmarks are destroyed, government officials are mutilated and the president blows up a shark with a grenade – and that’s just before the opening credits.What follows is another hour and a half of complete silliness, questionable acting, celebrity cameos, brazen product-placement and an unexpectedly bonkers final act. With multiple sharknados threatening the entire East Coast of America, Fin must find his family and save the day, while teaming up with some old faces and a couple of new ones including his estranged astronaut father, played by David Hasselhoff.
It’s not a particularly good film, obviously, but it’s at least up-front about its shoddiness while managing to come up with some surprisingly creative and pleasingly schlocky scenarios. By this point the series is enough of a success that it has the budget to execute its most outlandish ideas (kind of) and it’s certainly entertaining to see the dozens of imaginative ways in which shark kill people or, indeed, in which people kills sharks.The returning Sharknado cast of Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo all do their thing, with Ziering looking permanently disgruntled and Reid looking like she’s never seen her lines before let alone rehearsed them There are also a couple of surprising new faces including Malcom in the Middle’s Frankie Muniz and David Hasselhoff – not exactly A-list signings but it says a lot that they give easily the best performances in the whole thing.
There’s also a string of cameos by celebrities keen to be in on the joke, most of who are mercilessly murdered by the impending sharkageddon. Jerry Springer is there, as is George R. R. Martin, Ne-Yo, the late Jackie Collins and Jedward, for some reason.
But while there are genuine laughs to be had and it’s hard not to admire the sheer commitment of the thing, the acting, directing and editing are, for the most part, appropriately atrocious. A bigger budget seems to have come at the price of outrageously shameless product-placement and by this point the joke is being stretched a bit thin. When even your characters seem nonchalant about a tornado full of sharks, you know it’s probably time to give things a rest. Still, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is one of Syfy and The Asylum’s more spirited efforts and if you go in with realistic expectations, it has enough fun moments to make it worth a watch.