This Summer I Watched Every Single Sharknado Movie

Fin Shepard flying into a shark’s mouth in space

Fin Shepard flying into a shark’s mouth in space

I wanted this to be a good review more than anything. I wanted to sing my praises to the successful industry of satire in film and tear every self-important cinephile to shreds. It would be an amusing concept: Sharknado is better than Citizen Kane? Well, that’s a front-page story!  

However, after consecutively watching six Sharknado films in the span of two days, my brain is roughly the same consistency of oatmeal and I’m so restless that I can feel every nerve in my body individually twitching with rage. As much as I want to be unique and hilarious, the Sharknado movies aren’t good. They’re not even tolerable. Perhaps they’re easier to stomach in moderation — as in not two nights in a row — but I seriously, seriously doubt it. 

I’d normally summarize what I’m reviewing, but every scene in the estimated nine hours of the Sharknado cinematic universe has been indefinitely blurred in my hippocampus, and I can only make out bits and pieces of traumatizing CGI and nameless characters. Either way, I think the title itself is pretty self-explanatory: there’s a tornado made of sharks. Take that concept, imagine it on the big screen, and then lower your expectations by roughly 100%. Then endure about six of those, and that, dear reader, is the entire Sharknado franchise.  

Before I get into the vulgar intricacies of Anthony C. Ferrante’s mind, I must note that I am incredibly self-aware, perhaps to a fault. I can concede that what I’m doing is one of the easiest tasks known to man by way of insulting an intentionally horrible movie series. I know I’m not doing anything remotely revolutionary in the grand scheme of cinema critique. But as small as my platform is, I feel it is my duty, nay, my obligation — as a former features and opinions editor — to provide my readers with my brutally honest opinions regarding the Sharknado universe.  

So, without any further ado, here are my general first impressions: 

First and most concerning, every female character has so much unnecessary tension with the protagonist, Fin, (ha-ha, like a shark!) that it’s almost impossible to determine which relationships are romantic or familial. At one point, he was doing something totally masculine with a chainsaw alongside his sister-in-law, and I could’ve sworn they were about to kiss on screen after he sliced a hammerhead in half. For the duration of all six movies, my fellow movie-watchers and I were recycling the same few questions: 

“Wait, is that his daughter?”  

“No, I think that’s his sister.” 

“But didn’t they just kiss?” 

“No, that was the other brunette.”

Which poses another concerning issue: almost every girl looks the same. A Sharknado review isn’t the time nor the place to start a crusade for the sake of diversity in film, but it would have been helpful if there were more distinctive features between our female leads. All I’m saying is it would have been nice if I didn’t think he was about to kiss his niece every few scenes in the third movie. Or was it the second? I honestly can’t remember. 

Third, with my limited experience in watching movies, I feel as though there’s a difference between cleverly satirical and self-aware movies (i.e. Christopher Guest’s “mockumentaries” like Best in ShowWaiting for GuffmanA Mighty Wind, etc.) and the Sharknado series. The latter tries a little too hard to be bad, a little too hard to be disturbing, a little too hard to create a never-ceasing train of outlandish concepts, each more insane than the last. The result is a sort of existential dread that makes you far too aware of your own heart beating and your lungs expanding as you anxiously wait for the credits to roll. There aren’t enough words in the English language to properly encapsulate the sheer horror and denial that flooded my soul as I watched a mother shove her newborn through the flesh flaps of an incinerated shark that had free fallen thousands of miles from the earth’s atmosphere. It’s just something you don’t recover from. 

In fact, it was so violently tedious that if the government ever discovered the franchise’s mind-numbing capabilities, the CIA would undoubtedly have its first successful mind control program. The moment the sixth movie came to a close, my brain was so exhausted that you could’ve told me that Covid was a hoax, and I would’ve believed you!  

This leads me to my final point: the final fight scene in the sixth movie. It was so entirely bizarre, so indescribably and genuinely out of this world, that at one point I said out loud, “I literally have no idea what I’m watching right now.” Truer words have never left my mouth, and even hours after I finished the movie — hours after I’ve let the past forty-eight hours settle in my mind — I struggle to find the words to accurately describe the strange feeling that was marinating in my stomach as this nine-hour franchise came to a close in this hallucinogen-induced finale.  


It was like watching something great crumble to the ground in the form of a tragic train wreck that your gaze can never leave, much like the fall of Rome, I imagine. I had the privilege of watching a franchise that made an estimated $4 billion in revenue come to a nauseating close in a haze of bewildering animation and utter confusion. I was, for the first time in my life, speechless. And if you know me well, that isn’t a character trait I use to describe myself very often. 
Now for the good things. Although few in number, there were some parts of the films that evoked a humorous laugh, as opposed to the surprised scoffs and delirious giggling that occupied most of my viewership.  

First and foremost, I believe almost every Shark from Shark Tank had a cameo in the Sharknado universe. I don’t know how that came to be, but I’ll be the last person on the planet who complains about it. Mark Cuban even starred in the first few minutes of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! as the president of the United States. And I have to admit, watching President Cuban shooting sharks with a machine gun in each hand filled me with so much unexpected patriotism that I almost put a hand to my heart and stood for the national anthem right then and there. I couldn’t help thinking, “This is what America is. This is what we stand for.” It was awesome. 

Of course, there was amusing dialogue and one-liners that no written work could do justice, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to labor through the unceasing torture that is the SCU (Sharknado Cinematic Universe). I know my bias is transparent, but it could be due to the fact that I, similar to Sharknado’s Nova, suffer from “Post Traumatic Shark Disorder.” So, if that sounds like a road you’d like to stumble down, then be my guest. Amazon Prime is eagerly waiting to accept your money in exchange for its Prime Video membership and every single movie of the Sharknado Universe. But I do have to warn you: once you press play, there is no going back. 


A special thank you to those who suffered through this movie with me, including Ian Hays, Nathan Hays, Ethan Hilton, Quin Hilton, Corbin Hilton, Jack Hilton, Lucas Isaacson, Colin Jacobson, Tanner Norman, Gage Norman, Hannah Vance, and LeOra Ziegler. Thank you for this experience, and I hope I forget about it soon!