Finding the Best of the Worst: Sharknado IV

Nick Rutigliano '18
Film Critic


Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens [hereinafter Sharknado IV] was an educational experience for me in several respects. First, I was surprised to learn that there even was a Sharknado IV. I remember watching the original Sharknado during undergrad with a few friends who had heard how perfectly bad the movie was. I just thought it was bad, so I chalked the experience up to a waste of ninety minutes of my life and hadn’t thought twice about the Sharknado franchise since. Second, I was surprised to learn that Sharknado IV is the only installment that meets the threshold requirements for my project. As a reminder, I can only watch and review movies streaming on Netflix with less than a 20% rating on Not only did Sharknado I–III have scores greater than 20%, the original film actually obtained a respectable/incomprehensible score of 82% on the site. For reference, Ocean’s Eleven and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets also have scores of 82%. Third, I learned that I probably shouldn’t allow two weeks to lapse between watching a movie and writing a review for it. In between the viewing and typing this up I had legitimate law school stuff to attend to and a spring break. This probably means I am completely unqualified to write this review and should consider re-watching before proceeding, but I remember enough to know that Sharknado IV was a unique brand of terrible, and I refuse to subject myself to it for a second time. So, basically I am going to summarize what I remember and then close the Sharknado chapter of my life for good. 

Five years have elapsed since the last sharknado. A sharknado is, of course, a portmanteau of the words “shark” and “tornado” and describes a phenomenon whereby many sharks are entrapped in a vortex that leaves havoc and destruction in its wake. I will assume that this means that Sharknado IV takes place five years after the events of Sharknado III, but I didn’t actually see either Sharknado II or III so I cannot say so definitively. This may mean that I missed out on some plot points, including why Tara Reid’s character has been brought back from her (apparent) death as some type of half-robot, half-human, RoboCop-esque character. The film’s protagonist, Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering), and his family travel to Las Vegas for a vacation. A tech company, Astro-X, has developed technology that will supposedly prevent sharknados from forming, but predictably, this technology fails and Vegas is soon terrorized by a large sharknado. Many perish. It is gruesome and sad. 

As if a garden-variety tornado of sharks was not terrifying enough, new “’nados” are encountered throughout the film. A sharknado passes through an oil field to become an oilnado, which then ignites to become a firenado. There is also a hailnado, lavanado, and for some reason, a cownado. In a disastrous and unfortunate turn of events, a sharknado even passes through a nuclear power plant to become a . . .nukenado, naturally. Gilbert Gottfried supplies the commentary as a weatherman reporting on these events (seriously). Watching the characters fight and succumb to these sharknados is obviously over-the-top, but occasionally funny, as morbid as that sounds. I will not report on how or if the crew is able to eventually defeat the sharknados because no one likes spoilers. I also forgot how the movie ends. 

The best part of this film is the product placement for Xfinity’s new voice remote in the first thirty minutes of the film. That’s all I have. This may be because, as I said, I waited two weeks to actually write this review, or it could be because there were virtually no redeeming qualities to report on. I would guess the latter. 

I suppose if you liked the original Sharknado, and watched installments II and III for some reason, you may enjoy Sharknado IV. I did not fit either of those criteria, so I thought this was pretty awful. I should have known better. 

Tomatometer: 17%
Audience Score: 26%
Nick Score: 5%