A Cliffnotes Guide To Sharknado To Get You Pumped For The Sequel

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Sharknado chainsaw


Last night I watched Sharknado on Netflix. I did it all for you, so I hope you're happy. Allow me to explain. When this masterpiece of modern television cinema premiered on Syfy Channel last year, I totally missed it. For some crazy reason, I didn't consider a movie about a shark-related weather phenomenon to be appointment television. But then it became so popular that it spawned a sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, premiering tonight at 9 PM. So I figured I should catch up and then share my newfound knowledge with any readers who might have also missed the boat on this obsession.

To be honest, I'm fairly certain you'll be able to watch the sequel without any knowledge of the original, since it's a rather straightforward concept. But just to be safe, I've put together a little guide with answers to a lot of the questions you probably have about the first movie. Sorry, did I call it a movie? I meant to say “film.” It really does deserve the fancier synonym. In a thousand years, if the human race is wiped out and aliens come to Earth, I hope the first thing they discover from our society is a DVD of this film.

First of all, what is a sharknado?

It's a tornado full of sharks, of course. Well, to be more specific, it's a waterspout full of sharks. A waterspout is a tornado that forms over water, hence all the sharks getting sucked up into it. This movie is actually very educational, if you ignore every single thing in it.

So the movie just starts with a bunch of sharks getting sucked up into a tornado?

Whoa there, hold your horses. They can't just start with the sharknado right away. They have to build suspense. So obviously it all starts with a hurricane off the coast of Mexico that makes its way to California. Most of the movie is actually about the hurricane.

Then why isn't it called Sharkicane?

I don't know, ask Syfy. Maybe they thought people would mistake it for a Christmas movie about shark-flavored candy canes. Or an all-shark remake of Citizen Kane. You have to be careful about these things when you're marketing a piece of art like this.

Okay, fine. So what caused this to sharkicanado to happen, anyway?

Global warming. That's it. Just “global warming.” Bet you'll listen to Al Gore now, huh?

Do the sharks only attack people in the ocean?

Nope. Well, they do at the beginning, when the token hot surfer girl gets killed, and then a few other beach-goers are attacked. But eventually they make it onto land, either from riding the waves into the flooded streets or just flying through the air and through restaurant windows or into houses.

But once they're out of the water, they die, right?

Not necessarily. These sharks are actually capable of doing things like ride on the tops of cars and swing on ropes hanging over the sides of bridges. Not only can they breathe out of the ocean, but they have enough strength to bite through metal and leap huge distances. Learn something new every day.

So how do you kill them?

Lots of ways. You can stab them with pool cues, knock them out with bar stools, waste all your ammo shooting them up, blow them up with oxygen tanks (ahem, Jaws, ahem), or leap down their throats and then cut your way out with a chainsaw. Pretty much what you'd expect.

Wait a minute, if the sharks get sucked out of the ocean, shouldn't there be other sea creatures flying around too?

You're overthinking this. Obviously this is the kind of hurricane that's exactly strong enough to only carry sharks. Great White Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks. Sharks.

I need someone to care about through all of this. What characters do we follow?

A bunch of people you probably thought stopped existing at the turn of the century. There's Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210, Jaason Simmons of Baywatch, John Heard aka Kevin McAllister's dad, and of course Tara Reid, with her smudged eyeliner in a supporting role.

Anyone else?

Oh yeah, there's Cassandra Scerbo, who was on that show Make It Or Break It that I guess maybe you watched. And then there's Chuck Hittinger, whom I immediately recognized as the stalker boyfriend in Stalked at 17. Keep getting those meaty roles, Chuck.

How many human emotions is Tara Reid capable of conveying convincingly?


Does this movie happen to feature a scene where our hero saves a bunch of children from a school bus?

Yes, it does! How did you ever guess that?

Just a hunch. Here's another one. Do any of the characters have a tragic past related to sharks?

Wow, you are really good at this. Cassandra Scerbo's character, who calls herself Nova because she's angsty, has a mysterious scar on her leg that it turns out came from a shark. As a child, she was the only survivor of a shark attack that killed her grandfather. So it kinda sucks that she gets swallowed by one and has to have Ian Ziering cut her out with a chainsaw.

Sharknado bar stool


So where does this tornado come in?

Toward the end of the movie, the twister starts forming over the water, and obviously the sharks end up swirling around inside it, because I guess not all of them got blown ashore in the hurricane after all. Still no other animals, though. Both the hurricane and the tornado are shark-exclusive.

How do they stop it?

By throwing bombs into it from a helicopter, obviously. Not only do the bombs kill the sharks, but they also somehow stop the tornado because blah blah blah science words. Who cares, there are sharks swirling around in a hurricane!

Does the movie happen to end with some kind of shark pun?

You just get better and better at this, don't you? It does. The screen goes black and the word “Fin” pops up. Get it? Because it's the French word for “the end” and also the thing that sharks have? And also the name of Ian Ziering's character. Because yay puns!

Okay, so now I know all about Sharknado. What's the new movie about?

The same thing. Except this time it happens in New York instead of California. And Tara might be using a new brand of eyeliner this time around, I'm not sure.