Sharknado, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Camp

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The only reason I watched the first Sharknado is because I saw some tweets about it, and flipped over to SyFy on a whim so I could live-tweet the spectacle to my whole 200-someodd followers. I’ve been a fan of horrible SyFy movies for years, but never the of the shark variety. I was always more into the end-of-the-world disasters. Think The Day After TomorrowArmageddon, or The Core, only with lower budgets and ten times the unintentional hilarity. So when I heard this movie would be about a tornado full of sharks, I was on board — and I was not disappointed. Any movie that ends with you cheering for Ian Ziering as he chainsaws his way out of a shark cannot be bad, no matter what preceded it.

I spent the next year eagerly anticipating Sharknado 2: The Second One, but also a little concerned. First of all, I was lobbying for it to be called Sharknadeux or Sharknados, but we can’t always get our way. Secondly, the first one was so ridiculously, hilariously, and terribly amazing, that I was afraid there was no way to top it without re-hashing the same old tropes. You can only chainsaw so many sharks before it starts to feel a little derivative, even for a SyFy movie. Thirdly, I found out parts of the movie filmed in Buffalo, which is only an hour away from me, and was very mad that I did not know that beforehand so I could drive out there and beg to be an extra. (This has no effect on the quality of the movie, but I was still sad.)

It turns out that all my worrying was in vain. Writer Thunder Levin (how awesome is that name?!) and director Anthony C. Ferrante knew exactly what we wanted, and delivered…times a thousand. Barely five minutes into the film, Fin has already found himself flying straight into the mist of a sharknado, and the action never stops. And not just chainsaw action either — Fin and his stereotypically plucky band of survivors also use napalm super soakers, katanas, and a pizza oven to destroy shark after shark in increasingly epic fashion. In fact, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much of a plot beyond, “It’s happening again!” but that was all it really needed. And I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I’ll only say that just when I thought there was no way it could get better, it did. The entire room at my viewing party was screaming.

Pretty much the only characters who reprise their role in Sharknado 2 are Ian Ziering as Fin and Tara Reid as April, which made me a little sad. I highly enjoyed Cassie Scerbo’s badass-bikini-shotgun babe character from the original. She fulfilled the gratuitous T&A that I’m pretty sure is a requirement in any SyFy shark movie, but pulled off the hot chick with a gun flawlessly, and had some of the best lines in the film. Sharknado 2 made up for her absence by doubling down on the celebrity cameos, including Wil Wheaton, That Guy From Sugar Ray, and most absurdly, Billy Ray Cyrus as a doctor who is presumably trying to fix April and Fin’s achy breaky hearts. By far, the best guest appearance was Matt Lauer and Al Roker playing themselves, bringing us regular reports from The Today Show explaining just how bad the shark-weather was.

I mentioned earlier that I threw a viewing party for the movie, which was part of what made the whole experience so enjoyable. The Sharknado series is not designed to be watched on its own. After all, the whole reason the first one got popular is because of the shared collective experience of heckling it on Twitter. Half the fun comes from laughing, cheering, and cracking jokes about the dialogue with others. If you absolutely must watch it alone, text a friend who has seen the movie already and/or can appreciate your running commentary as you watch. Beer is also highly recommended. Otherwise, you may wonder what you’re doing with your life.

The only way I can imagine you not enjoying Sharknado 2 is if you hate fun, are a total stick in the mud when it comes to films, or a combination of the two. Is it a well-written, well-made movie? Debatable. Is it going to win any awards? Hell no. But between the ludicrous concept, the cheesy dialogue, and fantastically implausible shark carnage, I guarantee it’s the best bad movie you’ll watch all year. And this is coming from the girl who plans to see Into The Storm on opening night in IMAX. Enough said!

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