Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015)

Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante
Written By: Thunder Levin
Starring: Ian Ziering
  Tara Reid
  Ryan Newman
  Cassie Scerbo
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

You know the drill by now: storm’s a brewin’ and it’s full of the hungriest, most aggressive sharks imaginable. Make no mistake about it, the ‘nadoes of the Sharknado series – a series that will not die, judging by the announcement of a fourth instalment on the very same day the third was released – are deadly. So deadly, in fact, that even Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton wouldn’t dare tussle with them.

I mention Twister because much of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, rather confusingly, takes place on the Universal Studios lot. Maybe everyone fancied a holiday to Florida, or perhaps the filmmakers just wanted to tie in as much brand recognition as they possibly could, but suffice to say two key sequences take place on popular rides. And one of those involves Jedward.

That should give you some indication of what we’re dealing with here. The premise this time around sees hero Fin (a still admirably committed Ian Ziering) stuck in Washington, DC while his wife Tara Reid (does her character even have a name?) is in Florida with their daughter (Ryan Newman).

Before you can say “ridiculously terrible CGI” winds are swirling and sharks are dropping down on unsuspecting civilians, resulting in an untold amount of bloodshed. Can Fin make it to Florida to save his family before the storm inevitably moves down there because of something to do with weather systems that’s never quite explained?

Let’s face it; one doesn’t sit down to a Sharknado movie hoping for a decent script, a believable premise or even passable VFX. Your reasons for watching a Sharknado movie will depend on your predilection for so-bad-it’s-good-but-still-pretty-bad nonsense. And, if these films have never appealed to you before, it’s unlikely 3 is going to change your mind.

But, if you have a soft spot for the flying, bloodthirsty, never-convincing critters then this will be right up your shark-strewn alley. These movies don’t get better with each instalment; they just get bigger and bolder. The stakes aren’t higher this time around, no matter how many people yell or die. It’s the same old thing: Fin has to save the day because he’s the only one who can.

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is presumably so-called because the thing is loaded with guest stars (Chris Jericho! Penn and Teller! Jerry Springer!), loaded with references (a reporter named Mr. Benchley, a terrific sight gag with the famous shark prop in Universal), loaded with product placement (from NASCAR to NASA) and, yes, loaded with sharks. There’s a weird, duelling (as opposed to dual) narrative vying for our attention, with Fin battling sharks en route to his family, while they simultaneously enjoy a Travelogue of sorts.

The ubiquitous toothy bastards look even faker this time around, if that’s actually possible, but they’re at least more varied than previous escapades. Cookie cutters make an appearance alongside the usual hammerheads and nurses (no basking sharks, though, sadly). And, if you’re wondering how they survive up there in the tornadoes, just wait until you see how well they do in space.

None of it makes a lick of sense, because it doesn’t need to. This is Sharknado, the dumber the better! And regardless of whether or not the sharks, or performances, convince, at least the bloody thing is funny – and, more to the point, it knows exactly what it is. The Hoff has an actual part, there is more than one slo-mo sequence and the best special effects are in the title sequence.

Much like the original Sharknado, 3 has one, great piece of practical effects work that must be seen to be believed. It almost makes me wish the team were brave, or smart, enough to include more nuts-and-bolts sharks in these movies. But, again it is what it is, no movie subtitled Oh Hell No! could be accused of giving too much though to anything.

There’s a manic energy to this third instalment that makes it kind of impossible to resist. The carnage kicks off approximately twenty five seconds in, and it doesn’t let up (aside from when people are selling themselves, or something/where to us). Sharknado 3 isn’t so much a movie as a series of increasingly insane images – a shark impaled on an American flag – and dialogue – a character immediately exhales “God bless America”.

You have to admire the gumption of series director Anthony C. Ferrante, and writer Thunder Levin. They know they’ve hit the jackpot, to a certain extent, and they’re going to milk this, er, shark for all its worth (can sharks be milked? Surely the creators of Sharknado must know the answer). Lately these kind of bad-on-purpose features have been quite cynical, so it’s comforting to know we can still count on Sharknado to bring the fun.

You probably know how you feel about Sharknado at this point. If not, the series is worth a look for the sheer magnitude and scope of the madness. Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is bigger, crazier and dumber than the second instalment, but not quite as imaginative as the first, which is still arguably the best one because the idea was new.

This is worth a look if you’re that way inclined. Otherwise, you best stay off SyFy lest you stumble across something even weirder, like Sharktopus Vs. Whalewolf.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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