My Favorite Shark Movies
by Brant W. Fowler
Since 1975, sharks have really resonated with movie goers and people in general thanks to the classic that no Shark movie list would be complete with, JAWS. While looking back at the movie now we can see how ridiculously fake the shark is in that film, the realism (though obviously exaggerated for effect) of a pending shark attack struck everyone. Over the years, that has not changed. I'm not listing JAWS here because it goes without saying that it's one of the greats. The sequels, however...
One of the reasons Shark Week exists is to inform people of the dangers that lurk beneath those blue waters. But there is also a great fascination with the beasts in our culture. Maybe it stems from Speilberg's classic and all the films that followed in its stead. Maybe it's just the mystery and threat of these massive and suspenseful creatures. I don't know, but what I do know is sometimes a good shark movie is just what you need. Whether you like the thrill, or you just like the scenery, it's sometimes fun (and scary) to sit back and take it all in.
There actually aren't a whole lot of "good" shark films out there. There are PLENTY of bad ones (Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, anyone?). A couple of my picks will probably make some people cringe, but not from fear of the movie experience, but because of the absurdity of them. So let's just dive right in (there WILL be SPOILERS)...
This movie was actually quite boring, but it had me intrigued the whole way through. This is about as close to reality for a killer shark movie you're going to find. A couple, Daniel and Susan go on vacation and decide to go out scuba diving. Well, their boat doesn't do a proper head count and leaves them stranded in the middle of the ocean. They return to the surface just quick enough to see a boat way off in the distance. For a while they are bickering about what to do. After a while, the couple get stung by jellyfish. Susan complains about a nipping on her leg. Daniel goes under and sees a small fish nipping at a wound obviously caused by a shark bite that Susan didn't even realize had happened. Daniel keeps this from her in order not to scare her. A shark then bites Daniel and he goes into shock. The next morning, the crew finally realizes there are still belongings on the boat. However, Daniel has died in the night. Susan lets him go and then notices several sharks circling. She drowns herself before the sharks can eat her alive.
So yeah, not much to the film, but it was realistic enough to make anyone wary of traversing the deadly waters and to be very careful if you do. It was not what I'd call a great film, but it was interesting and scary in a very real way.
This one was also a more realistic take on it, though I question one particular part of it that I'll get to shortly.
This is an Australian film about a group of friends who capsize while sailing in Indonesia. Luke invites his friend Matt and Matt's girlfriend Suzie to sail the coral reef. Along for the ride is also Luke's sister Kate, who used to date Matt. So we have some drama and an actual plot here. A very natural and very realistic plot at that. Warren, another sailor and friend of Luke's comes along also. On the second day of their trip, though, they hit the reef and damage the boat and it capsizes. Luke wants to try to swim to Turtle Island for supplies and help, but it's 12 miles away. Warren refuses to leave as he thinks the waters to be shark infested. The others, after some convincing from Luke, decide to swim for the island. A while after they've gone, a Great White starts circling the capsized boat and Warren is never seen again.
This is where things get a bit unbelievable. Presumably the same exact shark then finds and stalks the group swimming for the island, and systematically picks them off one by one. Eventually only Matt and Kate are left, and they are close to an island, but the shark is hot on their trail. They make a dash for it and Matt manages to push Kate up on the rocks. However, as Matt is trying to climb up, the shark comes all the way in and grabs him from the rocks before he can make it up, leaving Kate the sole survivor.
So yeah, it went into a bit of unbelievable territory, but it was still a decent film with some eerie occurences.
Feel free to groan. Yes, Shark Night is your typical gratuitous thriller story that finds a bunch of college kids partying at a lake. What they didn't know was that a couple of locals have been capturing various species of sharks and transplanting them into this lake for fun. So one by one, the various sharks pick off the college kids until our two main cast members are left to survive... or do they?
So there are some really absurd things in this film, from punching sharks in 2 feet of water, to a shark leaping at an oncoming jetski taking the riders head off. But the fun in the movie was seeing all the different species of sharks and the hilarious way they were implemented. It's like one of those bad movies you just love watching because it's bad. I mean there were Great Whites, Hammerheads, even Cookie Cutter sharks in this movie. It was insane. I had fun with it.
Into the Blue
Ok, so this wasn't really a shark movie per se, but there were a few scenes that involved sharks to further the plot along. The movie, starring Paul Walker and my biggest celebrity crush, Jessica Alba was about a treasure hunter and his girlfriend trying to find that big score. Walker's character was obsessed with making a better life for he and Alba's character, but she was content already. When Walker's buddy came in with his girlfriend whom he'd practically just met, played by Scott Caan and Ashely Scott respectively, things started to heat up. The four went diving and found evidence of a treasure, but also a sunken plan full of drugs.
To make a long story short, after much debate, they decided to use the drugs as leverage to get cash for a treasure dive, and this got the drug runners in a killing mood. At some point, Ashley Scott's character gets half her leg bitten off by a shark, which causes them all to question just what price they've paid, and it makes Walker's character realize it's not worth it. But they had a happy ending regardless as they did find the treasure and got rid of the drug runners.
Deep Blue Sea
Okay, so there are many things wrong with this movie conceptually, but I still very much enjoyed this film. It had a great cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J just to name a few) and the science-fiction aspect of the plot was very interesting to me. You had these large sharks that were enhanced for the purposes of finding a cure for cancer. But in the process (by enlarging their brains), they were made more intelligent. And with their instinctual desire for nothing but feeding, this made escaping the beasts nearly impossible. There were explosions, riding sharks like dolphins, and some great acting despite the flawed concept of the film. I have watched it over and over and I still enjoy it when I catch it on.
So there you have it, my choices for a good viewing of shark infested films. Share with me some of your favorites down below. I'm curious if anyone actually liked such "gems" as Dinoshark, Sharktopus, Red Water and 2-Headed Shark Attack. :)
Brant W. Fowler / Writer, Letterer, Reviewer, Columnist, Podcaster, Co-Owner/COO/Site Manager of Comic Related
Brant W. Fowler has been a professional comic book writer, editor, flatter, letterer and logo designer for several years, and has been a freelance editor for the past five years or so. He is one of the cast members and host of the Zone 4 podcast here at Comic Related, and he letters some of the webcomics on the site. You can see samples of his works and how to hire him at Gonzogoose Design and Just-Flats.net. And catch up with him on his forums right here at CR. Brant is also a member of the core operations team at Comic Related.
blog comments powered by Disqus