Amity has not suffered a shark attack in years, but the fears of Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) – the widow of Sheriff Brody – resurface when her younger son, police deputy Sean (Mitchell Anderson) is suddenly killed when a great white shark sets a trap for him in the harbour by lodging a piece of wood near a buoy. As Sean attempts to clear the debris, the shark strikes and kills him.
Believing the shark (which her husband killed!) is looking for revenge against her entire family, Ellen flies to the Bahamas to warn her marine biologist son, Michael (Lance Guest), of the danger.
Meanwhile, also heading for the warmer waters is something big, hungry and out for revenge (yes, I know it’s approximately 1100 miles from Amity to the Bahamas and a shark can only swim around 50 miles a day, but hey – this is no ordinary shark).
The big rubber shark – back from the dead and with a vendetta – gets to attack an aircraft, but that’s far from being the only silly thing about this preposterous fourth entry in the series.
Michael Caine makes the most of the summer weather in the Bahamas and delivers a cheerfully irrelevant cameo as a local pilot called Hoagie. But Lorraine Gary, the only link – apart from the shark – with the fine original film, is annoyingly neurotic, while the plot – this time with the shark getting personal – is laughably inept.
Ellen also appears to possess some kind of psychic link with the attacking shark and knows when it is nearby, and what it wants. Mario Van Peebles’ character, Jake, speaks with the worst stereotyped Caribbean accent you’ve ever heard. It’s a relief when the shark gets him – and a disappointment when he shows up, miraculously alive, after the final battle.
As Roger Ebert observed, what shark wouldn’t want revenge on the humans who killed it? They were still flogging a dead Carcharodon Carcharias as late as 1987.
Judith Barsi, who played Thea Brody, died in 1988 when she was 10-years-old in a murder-suicide carried out by her father.
Mario Van Peebles