Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Plot Summary
No matter where surfer turned Sharknado hero Finn Shepard (Ian Ziering) goes, a Sharknado follows. This time multiple storms pop up all along the East Coast, and threatened to merge, created an apocalyptic wall of sharks reigning down upon the eastern seaboard.
Let’s make something clear — Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No is no way, even in the most remote possible instance a good movie. No, it’s terrible, and we know this and we accept this. In fact, what makes the Sharknado films so popular, and so enjoyable is the fact it’s in on the joke. Sadly, halfway through the film, everyone in the film seemed to forget this.
The first half of the film, however, is brilliant, absurdly brilliant. In the first 10 minutes you’re bombard with cameos from the entire pop culture spectrum. You’ve got Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban as the President and conservative talking head Ann Coulter as the Vice President. Those two actually steal the beginning of the film. There’s a scene where Cuban and Ziering pull out endless amounts of guns and mow down the sharks, which is just sublimely dumb. Coulter, who is usually mind glowingly unfunny, has a great scene where she and Mark McGrath (reprising his role from Sharknado 2), surf portraits of Washington and Lincoln down a flight of stairs past a sea of sharks. Again, so dumb it’s brilliant.
The cameos don’t stop there. There’s R&B singer Ne-Yo, ESPN talking head Michelle Beadle, former Laker Rick Fox, and Lou Ferrigno as Secret Service agents. Later on we see disgraced former politician Anthony Weiner as a National Weather Service heavy, wrestler Chris Jericho as a goofy rollercoaster ride operator, and Frankie Muniz as dorky anti-shark mechanic/soldier. Hell, even Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, Cindy Margolis, Penn & Teller, Michelle Bachmann, Bo Derek, Jerry Springer, Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson and Lorenzo Lamas show up.
It’s all madcap and goofy, and that’s why we’ve all tuned in. To laugh at the cameos, the absurd death by sharks, and the in-jokes. The best of which is Real Housewife Kim Richards assuming the role of ‘Babs from Universal’ an in-joke that stretches all the way back to Animal House (and continued through other films like The Blues Brothers).
Then it feels like Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, forgot this was all fun and games and took a turn for the serious. Or maybe it just went past the breaking point of self-reference. That moment comes when David Hasselhoff, yes “The Hoff,” enter the movie as Finn’s dad. The Hoff has become his own walking tongue in cheek pop culture reference, so to place him in a movie like this is just overload. The tongue has burst through the cheek and we’re left with a bloody, gaping mess. The film just gets too damn serious and too dramatic for its own good.
This dramatic lean kills the mood, especially when Hasselhoff, Ziering, and Tara Reid (complete with a chainsaw hand) end up…IN SPACE. And of course, they battle sharks in space. It should be this amazingly hilarious and stupid moment, but it’s treated with this dramatic heft that numbs you to the absurdity.
Then comes the ending. The ending actually saves Sharknado 3 from this weird dramatic hell. As Finn holds his newborn son (it’s doll, seriously it’s a bloody doll), Tara Reid wanders off to find the Navy wings pin The Hoff gave to Finn. When she finds it, she looks up to the sky and shrieks in terror as a piece of spaceship plummets to Earth and she is right in its trajectory.
What happens? Well, they leave it up to social yes. Yes, it’s up to the audience to vote on whether Tara Reid’s character lives or dies. And the answer will be given to us….next year in Sharknado 4.
It’s both a eye-rolling, groan-inducing moment, as well as highly original and clever concept. It’s a bold move, and one has to applaud the film for taking a risk like that.
In the end, one cannot put a number rating on Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No. It’s an intentionally terrible film that loses itself halfway through the joke, and rights the ship (somewhat) in the end. It gets the job done of being humorous, and self-referential, but you can see the joke wearing thin before your eyes.
Honestly, the joke has run its course. The novelty is over. We don’t need anymore Sharknado films. Next year we’re going beating a dead horse with the remains of a dead shark. It’s not going to be funny anymore (some will say these films were never funny), and it’s going to be even more of a blatant cash grab that this film was.
In short, they’re jumped the shark.