Do you dare to venture into the deep blue sea? Is your boat big enough?
To celebrate the upcoming release of uber-exsharkaganza The Meg, which sees fan-favourite diver-turned-transporter (turned diver, again?) go up against a prehistoric shark of unfathomable proportions, we have gathered the very best shark movies currently on offer. Thinking about going for a dip? Think again.
Let us know what you think!
10. Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus
Outrageous? Yes. Tacky to a sickening level? Definitely. So blindingly stupid beyond the realms of even the wildest imaginary incarnations? Absolutely. But where else will your kink for a bout between a massive shark and giant octopus be satisfied? Yeah, I thought so.
9. Finding Nemo
Not strictly a solo shark outing, but this beloved Pixar entry has none other than Bruce the ‘friendly’ shark. “Fish are friends, not food”, he says to his other typically villainous compadres. All jokes aside, it was nice to see the less confrontational side of sharks represented. Wait, he attacks them… never mind.
8. Shark Night 3D
This one hit cinemas towards the end of the 3D boom that saw numerous blood-soaked stinkers (My Bloody Valentine 3D, Final Destination 3D) garner rather impressive figures. However, this isn’t all bad – supremely dumb fun with some pretty satisfying deaths handed out to obnoxious teens who are asking for it, really. Grab yourself a pair of red and blue specs and some friends and you’ll laugh the night away.
8. The Reef
If you’re going to make a shark movie, you decide out of three options what it’s going to be like. Hilariously daft, like a slasher movie with a shark, or more of a genuine horror. The Reef falls into the latter category, a great little film that smartly opts to shy away from cringy CGI, instead using real shark-footage while still giving the audience some horrible mayhem.
6. Jaws 2
The only sequel to the original shocker that is worth talking about. Despite Roy Scheider famously being pretty unenthusiastic about the film, it actually turned out quite good. With Jeannot Szwarc (who also directed Santa Clause: The Movie) taking over from Steven Spielberg, alarm bells were surely ringing. But the writers let their hair down a bit; throwing some stereotypical silly teens in, this was a pre-Friday the 13th forecast of what was to come.
5. The Shallows
Where The Shallows exceeds above all others on this list is the absolutely stunning visuals. Flavio Labiano’s keen eye alongside playful director Jaume Collet-Serra place the thrills in a picturesque setting. Despite measly dialogue, Blake Lively pretty much commandeers the film on her own in an impressively engaged performance that proves to be a match for the terrifying shark that lurks around her. It may tail off a bit occasionally, but the first encounter with the monster is enough to put anyone off surfing.
It had to be on the list, it just had to be. Marking the beginning of one the most infamous film series’ of the 21st century, Sharknado‘s concept is bargain-bin gold. Not that it takes much explaining – there’s a sudden sea tornado that sends flesh-hungry sharks flying through Los Angeles. Utterly shameless and devoid of logic, best consumed with several alcoholic beverages. If you’re complaining about the film’s quality, you’re missing the point.
3. Open Water
Now here’s a nightmare that is truly terrifying. What’s worse is it’s (loosely) based on the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, although all the names are changed in the film. Imagine this – you’re on holiday in the Caribbean, and you decide to go scuba-diving. You’re out there in the blue, soaring through the great unknown, and when you rise to the surface to go home, the boat is gone. You’re stranded, in open water. That’s what happens here, in a remarkably low-budget effort which doesn’t exaggerate the shark attacks, rather trying to give an accurate idea of how a situation like this could play out. Spoiler, it’s more traumatic than all these films would have you believe. Unforgettable, latching on to your survival instinct and not letting go.
2. Deep Blue Sea
Where else can you see LL Cool J and his talking parrot go up against a massive, scary shark (who knows how to turn on an oven)? Deep Blue Sea is pure predator magic, a gripping game of cat-and-mouse that, even with its glaring absence of logic and inane tendencies, will thrill you for its entire running time. Things to note: don’t stand so close to a ‘sleeping’ shark; Thomas Jane literally can’t stand up and it’s hilarious; Samuel L. Jackson makes everything better, and if you’re going to be mauled by a shark, make it as epic as possible. A late 90s treasure.
All it takes is two notes to send an icy chill through your body – “Du-rum”. John Williams created a piece of music so villainous, so foreboding, oozing dread and fear. I am of course referring to the theme of Spielberg’s 1975 original summer blockbuster, Jaws. Responsible for vilifying sharks, the cultural impact of this holiday nightmare is paramount. It is one of the most effective thrillers ever made, breathtaking from the opening scene of a young girl’s fateful late-night dip, to the epic finale on the boat that ended up being just big enough. It’s never trashy, or (too) far-fetched. Most of all though, at its core, its still bloody scary.
What’s your favourite shark movie? Let us know in the comments, or tweet me at @frewfilm.