For 27 years, people have been tuning into Shark Week to learn more about the perfectly designed predators that reside in the majestic, deep, and frighteningly mysterious ocean. While part of the curiosity comes from wanting to learn more about sharks, a decent amount of it comes from the realization that there are actually things out there that can eat you. Seriously, it’s pretty easy for them to do.
In celebration of Shark Week and these misunderstood monsters of the deep here’s a list of movies that showcase sharks eating a bunch of people, including a lot of movies that fall into the “they’re so bad, they’re good” category.
Jaws is arguably the movie that got the shark craze started on a mainstream level. When it was first released, Jaws was the highest grossing film of all time – only to be knocked out by Star Wars IV: A New Hope two years later – and is still the seventh highest grossing film of all time in North America when adjusted for inflation. Audiences everywhere couldn’t contain themselves when they got a chance to watch a 25-foot Great White eat oblivious teenagers in the Steven Spieldberg-directed thriller.
Jaws 2 (1978)
Jaws 2 was the highest grossing sequel of all time upon its release and, also like it’s predecessor, remained so until Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back took the spot two years after. This sequel gave viewers another chance to see Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) take on a Great White that’s big enough to beach a killer whale.
Sharknado is a film that’s perfectly aware of itself. Understanding that it’s not what many would consider to be a “good” movie, Sharknado doesn’t even try. The concept sounds like a fever dream where sharks wind up in a hurricane and rain down on Los Angeles, eating anyone within reach.
Sharknado 2 (2014)
Sharknado became a quick cult classic and social media phenomenon so, of course, Syfy had to come back for another go. This time, the raining sharks ended up in New York City and added a new component to the franchise – celebrity cameos! There are so many appearances from B- to D-level celebrities that if you made a drinking game out of it, you might not finish the film… or survive. Drink responsibly, shark fans.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Alzheimer’s is undeniably something that affects people throughout the world and needs to be cured. But, to be honest, experimenting on man-eating sharks probably isn’t the best way to go about that. Including the sight of Samuel L. Jackson with a full head of hair (post-Pulp Fiction), Deep Blue Sea was all about shock value as you watch intelligent sharks hunt a group of scientists in an underwater facility. Everything about this movie spells disaster.
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus paired two oversized aquatic predators against one another with the entire ocean as their battleground. Also the Golden Gate Bridge and the sky. What?!
It wasn’t enough to see a giant shark and octopus go at it in a brawl to the death. Somehow, the idea was cooked up to combine the two and create the navy’s next great fighting machine, Sharktopus. With the head of a shark, the tentacles of an octopus, and the soul of dancer, Sharktopus completely does away with the theory that you’re safe as long as you’re on land. Yep, he can walk. The only safe place in a world with Sharktopus is away from all oceans.
Sand Sharks (2011)
Now, this just isn’t fair. The most basic rule of shark thrillers is supposed to be that you’re safe on the beach. Even Sharktopus could only be out of the water so long. But in Sand Sharks, you’re just a sitting duck if you’re an unsuspecting spring breaker playing a game of beach volleyball or soaking in some rays. It would be alright if the shark couldn’t go into the water, you’d just reverse the rules. But it can do that too.
The Reef (2010)
Instead of following the trend of being a corny spoof of a shark thriller, The Reef is actually thrilling and has footage of real sharks. The Reef is based on the true story of a group of friends who try and swim to land after their boat capsized, only to be followed by a Great White shark. The shark attacks in this movie are believable because they aren’t the result of a shark’s bloodlust; it’s just hungry.
Ghost Shark (2013)
Do sharks go to shark heaven where they can chase around seals to their heart’s content after Roy Scheider kills them? Director Grift Furst answers the question by introducing us to Ghost Shark, a movie about a shark ghost (that appears anywhere that a small amount of water exists) that was tortured and which attacks its killers (and anyone else that gets in the way).