The SyFy channel has a certain reputation. Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! manages to keep the tradition of cheap and nasty made for TV films alive and well. This third installment of cheese with an extra serving of anchovies proves that no film budget is too low or CG FX too shabby to keep the partnership of The Asylum and SyFy down. The Sharknado franchise is perhaps the first set of films, made for TV or otherwise, to be perpetuated by social media; Twitter made the first film, just plain old Sharknado, an instant hit.
Over the Internet the film, that starred Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo , took on an epic life of its own after celebs began sharing their thoughts on the “faux” horror film that aired on SyFy back in July 2013. The whole thing caught fire with the world’s media and the movie became an honest to goodness phenomena.
Enough so that it spawned (sorry) two more trips to the world of shark-filled tornadoes. The second film took place in New York and the last, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! along the entire east coast of America. In terms of entertainment value, the films may be that bit more enjoyable if one views it intoxicated, or high, or if the viewer concentrates on trying to name all the celebs who have queued up to play cameos in the franchise.
The computer generated FX are laughably bad and the props are abysmal. Floppy bayonets aside, however, Sharknado 3 is funny. There are some perfectly good gags, Bo Derek’s line about the cell phone app is a side splitter. As May Wexler she asks daughter April (Tara Reid) just why, since phones have apps for everything, she doesn’t have one to find her granddaughter who has gone missing at Universal Studios Orlando theme park.
Produced by The Asylum folks, who also brought Z Nation to SyFy, there are a few things that annoy about the film, product placement may not be over zealous but it is there. Xfinity shows up several times (at least once on the side of a NASCAR racer) and Universal Studios Orlando in Florida must be down on visitor numbers to have resorted to this “in your face” advertisement.
Of course the placement of two products is not overly upsetting, realizing that Bo Derek has gotten old is far more disturbing. Granted, Bo looks fantastic for 58, but for those fans of a certain age, 10 never seemed so far away.
Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante the film is not meant to be taken seriously. None of the three were made with that goal in mind. Ferrante was also responsible for Boo a 2005 horror film with better intentions than actual performance, but pretty good viewing nonetheless.
Despite the stars playing their various roles almost painfully straight, the production company (The Asylum) is not above making their own little jokes and giving the audience a little treat. Case in point, Kelitta Smith, who played Sgt. Roberta Warren in Z Nation, has a cameo in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! playing Sgt. Roberta Warren. She holds up the hero and his group, Shepard (Ziering), Nova (Scerbo) and Stevens (former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz who is dismembered later by multiple shark bites) at the gate of Charleston Air Force Base.
She doubts Shepard’s claim to know General Gottlieb (Tim Russ) and talks about the sharknado attacks. Stevens tells Warren that it could be worse, it could be zombies. For fans of Z Nation it is a priceless moment and quite possibly the last chance to see Smith as Warren considering how that series ended.
Of course none of the films are meant to be more than a passing nod and wink to those horrifically schlocky horror films of the 1950s and 60s. (Pun intended) A huge amount of ‘Z’ list celebs appear in various cameos, some literally lasting seconds, so the novelty of the films has clearly not worn off.
The plot is simple, each attack or wave of sharknadoes is worse than the last, in this film the sharks actually wind up in space. April asks how can the creatures can survive in space and Fin responds with his own question, “How can they survive in a tornado?” Suspension of disbelief is not required by the audience, the cast have done it for us and they do so quite ably.
Sharknado is not finished either. The latest plug for the franchise has fans voting on whether or not April Shepard lives or dies. With a new tagline of “We’re not finished yet,” it seems that The Asylum, Anthony C. Ferrante and the remaining cast members are not ready to leave the Sharknado verse just yet. If nothing else, Twitter will continue to appreciate the efforts of all concerned as there are still a number of bemused, and amused, tweets that address the made for TV films every time they air.
For sheer novelty value, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is worth a look by the curious. Viewing of the prior two installments of the franchise is not a requirement and could be hazardous to one’s health; servings of triple cheese with extra anchovies may incur issues of a noxious nature. 3 out of 5 stars for TV-Movie fun and major silliness.