Just when it was safe to enter Las Vegas, it becomes the beginning for this fourth installment of the SyFy Channel’s cult saga as the Shepard family now faces a threat that is nothing they ever expected.

It was been five years since the last Sharknado and it is due to the efforts of Aston Reynolds, who has developed technology capable of destroying the Sharknados once and for all with the help of Col. Gilbert Shepard. Thriving on the success of having no Sharknados since then, Aston opens a new hotel in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Fin Shepard, who has survived three of the massive Sharknados in the past, has been living quietly in Kansas. He heads to Las Vegas to reunite with oldest son Matt, who is on military leave.

With new friend Gemini, the duo head there and soon learn that a sand storm has emerged. This is no ordinary sandstorm as it becomes a Sharknado. An attempt to stop the threat from Aston’s company is met with resistance and now, Vegas is only the beginning. Fin soon realizes that the Sharknado has multiplied to now resemble other forms of nature. Alongside the sandstorm, Sharknados have formed out of lava and lightning. To complicate things, Fin has no idea that his wife April, long thought to be dead, is actually still alive and has reformed into a cyborg and could be the only hope to help stop the new threats, which have now moved across all of the United States.

The Sharknado saga has been quite interesting that got its notice when a famous Hollywood actress tweeted about the film upon the first film’s debut in 2013. In an age where we see Syfy coming up with titles such as Frankenfish, Lavalantula, and others, Sharknado was truly their most well-known film. Where the first film took over Los Angeles, the second in New York, and the third on the East Coast from D.C. to Orlando, it was already expected that there would be a fourth one, which was announced at the very end of the third film, in which Twitter fans got to vote of a certain character’s fate.

This is by far, the most insane of the films. Not only because it takes not one, not two, but three massive Shaknados across the United States, but there are so many references to other films as well as upping the ante on cameo appearances (from Carrot Top to Married with Children actor David Faustino to the Christley family to WWE superstar Seth Rollins) in the film. If you have seen any of the previous films in the saga, then you know what to expect from the likes of lead actors Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and David Hasselhoff. However, it is Reid who goes through the most change of the film as she now goes full-on Luke Skywalker mode here and this is clearly seen in the Star Wars-inspired opening scene of the film.

Aside from the obvious Star Wars reference (including the film’s subtitle), there are references to Ziering’s one-time profession as a male dancer in a scene in Vegas and the likes of Terminator, Christine, and The Wizard of Oz, which Fin even asking himself, “Why did I say that?” after spewing out a famous line in the film. However, one of the best scenes pays tribute to another horror movie saga, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. During Fin and group heading towards Kansas, they stop at a chainsaw store in Texas where they run into the store’s sibling owners. Their names are Chop-Top (Leatherface’s brother in TCM2), played by Duane “Dog” Chapman; Stretch (the DJ who Leatherface fell for in TCM2), played by Caroline Williams (who played the same named character in said movie); and Gunnar (to pay tribute to the late Gunnar Hansen, who played the original Leatherface), played by Dan Yeager, who played the human-mask wearing chainsaw killer in 2013’s Texas Chainsaw. And Chapman yells out one of the line “The Saw is Family”. Need we say more?

Like its previous installments, the film ends on a cliffhanger in which series writer Thunder Levin has already crafted a trilogy that would end the saga.

The bottom line? If you liked how bad the last three installments were, then you will see how bad Sharknado: The 4th Awakens stands out. It is definitely more cameo-filled and has some pretty funny references. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same old story, but that chainsaw store scene, just puts it up a notch.


SyFy Channel presents a production of The Asylum. Director: Anthony C. Ferrante. Producer: David Michael Latt. Writer: Thunder Levin. Cinematography: Laura Beth Love. Editing: Ana Florit.

Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Masiela Lusha, Cody Linley, Ryan Newman, Imani Hakim, David Hasselhoff, Tommy Davidson, Cheryl Tiegs, Christopher Shone, Nicholas Shone, Gary Busey.