Sharknado 2

[This article relies on a discussion of plot details from the ending of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! God help your soul if you read it before experiencing the film for yourself.]

Ensuring that shark-based weather formations will become an American summertime tradition, as regular as July barbecues or heat stroke, Syfy wasted no time in announcing a fourth film in the increasingly epic Sharknado franchise. Now that the combined forces of sharks and unrelenting, audience-insulting camp have devastated the Eastern seaboard and a number of minor celebrities—as well as authors who may or may not have more important things to be doing with their time—director Anthony C. Ferrante has suggested that the Sharknados may be going international next year. (Cue footage of a shark being impaled on the Eiffel Tower, as lovingly depicted as the most fumbling of novice Photoshop attempts.)

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But the biggest plot detail of the next movie is still undetermined, as the third film’s cliffhanger ending made abundantly clear. The film closes on Tara Reid’s character being imperiled by falling debris, with users invited to use the Twitter hashtags #AprilLives or #AprilDies—Reid’s character is named April, apparently—to determine her fate, with online audiences certain to be as kind as they always are to poor, embattled Tara Reid.

Interestingly, the fiat-by-hashtag was apparently a late addition to the film; Ferrante originally intended his opus to end with the heroes triumphant and safe, but Syfy executives torpedoed—nautical pun intended, since if Sharknado has taught the world anything, it’s that literally no joke is too dumb to enthusiastically charge toward—a conclusion that suggested that there wouldn’t be more Sharknados to come. And so Reid’s character is on the chopping block, just like that time that DC Comics decided if Robin would live or die with a toll-line call-in poll. (It may or may not provide Reid with some relief to learn that the bloodthirsty masses killed him by a margin of less than a hundred votes.)

Syfy executives expressed enthusiasm for their own viral marketing stunt, with vice president Chris Regina saying, “I think it’s going to be precedent-setting,” a handy phrase when the precedent in question doesn’t have to be specified as good or bad. In any case, the decision will take one more plot choice off of franchise writer Thunder Levin’s plate, giving him vital extra time to figure out a new way to make a shark bite someone in an even stupider fashion than it has before, because if Sharknado ever stops moving, it will die, and that would be a shame.

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