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Killer Shark Films - Ranked
Movie list created by Bml93
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When Psycho made people a bit hesitating about taking showers, Jaws made people stay completely out of water. Which is why I'm glad that the swimming season is over for now. Jaws is an effective horror film that is superbly told, filmed and acted. A young Steven Spielberg really established himself as a director with this film, and he did prove that very often, less is more. One of the many genius things about Jaws is that they rarely show the shark. Certainly, it was mainly because they had some trouble with the shark models, but the end result is nevertheless terrifying. What we don't see, and instead think we see, is often scarier than what we do see.
Spielberg does build suspense with great skill. Watching swimming feets underwater accompanied with John Williams legendary score is nearly too much to handle. But, while Spielberg does nearly everything right. There are some flaws here. At least for my taste. It does get a bit messy, chaotic, repetitive at times. There are also certain scenes that feels unnecessary, that breaks the flow of the film and ruins the tension.
47 Meters Down (2017)
47 Meters Down manages to do a lot with a very simple, yet equally terrifying premise. It's in many ways marketed as a killer shark film, but for the most part, the sharks takes the back seat of this film. Only to appear when the suspense is at its highest. Instead much of the tension in 47 Meters Down is built around limited air supply, loss of radio signal, limited space to move and decompression sickness. Director Johannes Roberts manages to do a lot with this, and there are several scenes that are nail-bitingly tense with the sharks being well-used whenever they appear. They are used in some sort of jump-scare way, but instead of it feeling cheap, the scares are well-earned due to how Roberts have built up the tension beforehand.
The characters of the film are somewhat annoying, and I do think that they talk way too much and sometimes of things that they really shouldn't be talking about, given their circumstances. Yet, that's only a minor nitpick in what's a gorgeously looking and tense underwater thriller.
Open Water (2004)
Open Water is an unfairly overlooked and bashed film. The reasons for that is quite simple. Some people just don't have the attention for anything. This film is at times absolutely terrifying due to its realistic approach on being stranded out in the middle of the ocean, with sharks lurking under your feet. And it's just not about the sharks. The film greatly manages to capture every psychological aspect, as well as every natural medical illness that might occur when floating in the water for several hours.
It also helps that this film has likeable characters giving real performances, making it easy for us to sympathize with them in their situation. This also causes the tension to feel more real.
The Shallows (2016)
As far as killer shark films go, The Shallows is pretty great. I'm not a big fan of Blake Lively, but her performance is the driving force of this film, along with great pacing and a clever usage of the shark. The shark is not over-exposed, and we really only get to see the shark whenever Lively's character sees it as well. This puts us right in to her head, and drives the tension forward.
The pacing is great, but there are some story elements in this film that doesn't work. The film is really scarce on story, but they have attempted to create some back story here to force some emotion in to this film. It falls completely flat, and I would have preferred the film to be a pure and simple survival story without any plot points disturbing it.
The Meg (2018)
The Meg is a 150 million dollar piece of garbage. It's an incredibly dumb film and the plot is exactly like something you would see in one of the many shark films from studios like The Asylum. It does have its moments, and at times, it's hilariously funny. Much of this is due to its pure stupidity, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.
If there is one thing that caught me by surprise, it is how full of emotion it is. Death is given proper weight and the characters are actually mourning whenever someone dies. It's a theme that carries through the entire film and it's shocking (but appreciated) to see a film like this deal with so much emotion through its use of characters.
The first half is rather boring. For some reason, the first half is treated as some sort of mystery in which we're kinda not supposed to know what creature is attacking them. This despite the film's title and all of its promotional material? It's rather dumb and it takes a long time for things to finally get going.
The most disappointing thing with The Meg is however it's lack of blood and gore. This is probably due to the studio wanting younger audience to see the film, but it severely reduces the enjoyment of the kills. I would have loved to see kills like we see in the first Jaws, but instead the megalodon comically just swallows people whole. To put it simply, it lacks bite.
Jaws 2 (1978)
It's a bit unfair to compare this to Steven Spielberg's original classic, yet it is also inevitable. JAWS 2 falls short in almost every department. Ending up as an overlong snoozefest by the end, it is directly suffering from the lack of the precise filmmaking that the original had, the rich character development and the nail-biting tension of the shark attacks. JAWS 2 decides to go away from the less-is-more approach that Spielberg was forced into when he made JAWS. This time the filmmakers have made sure that the shark is always front and center in the attacks. The result is a film that quickly grows stale and never manages to up the tension. There are only so many times a shark attack is terrifying to watch.
JAWS 2 slightly tips its toes into some sort of paranoia territory, as Roy Scheider's character is causing panic at a beach by firing his gun at little fish, in the fear of a shark being back. The filmmakers could have done a lot of interesting things with this fear and paranoia, but seeing as they never withhold the shark, it ultimately means nothing. Which is essentially what this film is. It's nothing.
This is the kind of film that one hopes falls into the "so bad it's good" category. Expecting great acting and layered stories from a title with the name of 2-Headed Shark Attack is a game you'll end up losing. So the value of this film lies in how bad it can get. And luckily, it's for the most part so bad that it ends up being pretty entertaining. Unfortunately, it's also very often just cringeworthy bad.
It's amusement lies in how horribly bad the CGI of the shark is, and how terribly looking the shark attacks are. I found myself laughing for a minute every time the shark ate someone. It's also amusing that they got Aaron Eckhart to play a leading role in it. Of course I know it wasn't him. (just looks like him) But despite the hilarity in the shark attacks, 15(?) unattractive, bumbling idiotic teenagers turned out to be more annoying than fun. And that ruins 2-Headed Shark Attack on an entertainment level.
One would think that a film with the title and premise of Sharknado would be the ultimate "so bad it's good" film. Sadly. It's not. The problem is that seeing as the film's goal is probably to be so bad that it's good, it lacks the thing that truly makes a film "so bad it's good". Which is that it's not done on purpose. The charm comes when the people involved actually thinks they're making a good film. That's not the case with Sharknado.
So what we're left with is simply a film that's rather bad, mostly dull and not as entertaining as it really should have been. It doesn't deserve the hype.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
The film has one "holy shit!"-moment in it that's extremely awesome, but that's basically it. It's naturally beyond ridiculous and cheesy, but it never gets so bad it's good. It's just bad and stupid. It's a boring film.
It might have been better if it wasn't for the fact that my Netflix was a bit troublesome this time, occasionally starting to lag. Causing me to pause the film for a few minutes every time. But still, it didn't give me much enjoyment when it was working properly.
The Asylum is notorious for making these kind of films. Cheaply, lazily and quickly made films that earn them small profits every time. It's crap. One do hope to get some simple laughs out of the ridiculousness that these films offer, but they are very few and far between. The problem is that they're intentionally made shitty, and thus you can not laugh at the filmmaker's failed intention and effort. So this is just an miserable experience.
Jaws 3 (1983)
Need a re-watch for me to able to write about it. Hopefully (unfortunately?) that will happen soon.
The Last Shark (1981)
Almost falls into the "so good it's bad" category, but it doesn't quite reach that level because it's not ludicrous enough. Not in it's own way, at least. Because the weirdest thing about this film is how much they actually ripped off from Jaws.
It has a few moments of laughable moments. Such as how they've decided to combine real footage of an actual shark swimming around with the rubber-looking shark they've created. And the death scenes are so awful looking that one can not avoid chuckling. But it's surprisingly gutless. There's almost no blood here. No nudity. And not much trash.
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015)
It's not as annoying and insultingly lame as the second Sharknado film. It's essentially just boring. I do appreciate how it just gets started immediately and how it, for the most time, avoids wasting time on irrelevant stuff. Yet, there's nothing even remotely clever in it for it to justify its existence. Nor does it cross the threshold of being so bad it's good. Just dull.
Shark Night (2011)
This film was absolutely no fun. Odd, the director managed to create a fun snake film, so it's strange that he didn't create an equally funny shark film. But I guess that's partly where the problem lies. Bigger budget, bigger studio and a more known director than what most of these shark film have. So they obviously had to get so many as possible to see it, and created a shark film with a PG-13 rating to cash in on kids. The result is poorly made snorefest.
The PG-13 rating basically means that they can't show us any good gore or nudity. None of the things we really want from a shark film. Which is (unless you're Spielberg) scantily clothed teenagers being eaten by sharks in a violent and gory way. We don't get that from this film.
Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)
The first Sharknado was terrible, and Sharknado 2 is just the worst thing ever. I honestly fail to see what the hype surrounding these films are about. It's like people are not aware of The Asylum, and that they've put out these quickly made, horrible excuses for quick cash for a very long time. There's no difference between Sharknado 2 and the other films that The Asylum have dumped on us previously.
There's basically nothing to like here. Nothing to laugh about. The title is amusing, but that's it. And quite honestly, that's probably the only reason for why people fool themselves into thinking that they enjoy these films. It's just cringe-worthy, and not "so bad it's good".
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Need a re-watch for me to able to write about it. Hopefully (unfortunately?) that will happen soon.
Ranking the films that is about sharks eating people in an order from best to worst.
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