Shark Week both came and ended in July, but the shark fun doesn’t have to be over.
Netflix stocked up on a few shark films at the beginning of September, giving audiences a chance to swim with the sharks without worrying about losing a leg. Not every shark movie is worth watching, but there are a few (three, really) on Netflix that are not only worth watching, but worth watching twice.
1. Jaws (1975)
Let’s start with a classic. Directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1975, “Jaws” focuses on the fictional summer resort town of Amity Island, whose economy relied on the summer months when people came to visit the beach. One fateful summer, however, one unnecessarily hostile shark made that a difficult task. For many, “Jaws” gave reason to stay out of the water, as audiences watched the police chief, Martin Brody, do all he could to save the people of the town, his own family included.
“Jaws” will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, biting your nails and screaming at the stupidity of people. The movie could have come to an end after ten minutes when the remains of a swimmer were found; however, the greed of the town’s council and mayor allowed them to delude themselves into thinking that the water was safe, because they needed tourists to come during the summer to help fund the town. Unfortunately, it turns out that the town of Amity Island has a too-large-for-comfort great white shark hunting in its waters.
Chief Brody tries his best to get them to listen to him and close the beaches. No one listens to him, and frankly, everyone in town thinks he’s crazy and overreacting until they see the shark for themselves and the damage the shark can cause. Even after people find out about the nearly unstoppable killing machine, Chief Brody’s pain doesn’t end there. Instead, the man finds himself going face-to-face with a terror unlike any he has ever encountered—oh, and a shark, too.
There is a reason “Jaws” was the highest-grossing film for a while (Star Wars came along and forced it out of the way), and many shark movies can be made, but none will ever have the impact that “Jaws” created.
2. Jaws 2 (1978)
Maybe because of the impact “Jaws” had, a sequel to the film swam its way into existence not too long after. Directed by Jeannot Szwarc and released in 1978, “Jaws 2” re-introduces the town of Amity Island and the woes of Chief Brody. After the horrendous happenings with the man-killing great white, it is understandable that Chief Brody has developed a bit of paranoia when it comes to the water. Because there is no telling whether or not another great white shark would find its way to Amity Island, Brody, who is now a father, doesn’t want his sons anywhere near the ocean, and instead wishes they would find things to do on land.
The carnage begins when a rogue shark ambushes and kills two divers who were photographing the wreck of a ship, leaving their camera to be recovered a few days later. Instead of stopping there, the great white goes after a female water skier and her speedboat driver, killing the skier and forcing the driver to fend off the sharp-toothed assailant with a gas tank and flare gun, which results in the boat exploding, the driver dying and the shark getting a makeover of the burnt quality.
Despite the explosive events, Chief Brody still has a hard time convincing people of a potential shark threat after several people end up missing or dead. Yet again, the town council and mayor set their sights on money, and it’s only once the waters get too bloody that they have to realize, once more, that they’ve got a serious problem on their hands. As if dealing with the foolishness and stubbornness of the head honchos isn’t enough, Chief Brody’s eldest son, Michael, is determined to be in the water and later, as a result, finds himself in serious need of rescuing.
As far as sequels go, “Jaws 2” does an excellent job of keeping with the original film while forging its own path. At the time, “Jaws 2” was the highest-grossing sequel in history, and because of its success and the success of its predecessor, two more sequels were spawned—both of which can also found on Netflix.
3. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
How does one cure Alzheimer’s disease? With genetically mutated mako sharks, of course, because sharks weren’t dangerous enough.
Directed by Renny Harlin and released in 1999, the somewhat comedic “Deep Blue Sea” is considered a successful shark film by most, especially since the shark genre is limited and is still dominated by “Jaws.” The film is a personal favorite because of the suspense surrounding the setting: an underwater research facility.
With the project on the verge of being shut down and losing funding, Doctor Susan McAlester, who holds a personal grudge against Alzheimer’s disease, and Doctor Jim Whitlock, who’s really just along for the ride, need to prove that their research is working by extracting and testing a certain protein complex that can be removed from the brain tissue of a shark.
However, they needed a shark large enough to provide a viable sample of the brain tissue, and that’s where the genetic mutation comes in. Even though the rules of the scientific community forbid the use of genetically modifying test subjects, the maverick duo refuses to let regulations stand between them and a cure.
Expectedly, all does not go as planned, as their test subjects become far too intelligent to control or predict. While this isn’t a new plot (people playing God and getting bitten in the butt for it), “Deep Blue Sea” manages to build suspense as the crew struggles to find a way out as the facility begins to take on water; with threats of being drowned, tensions run high and people begin to get picked off, one by one, leading the crew to realize the sharks having been killing them in a calculated pattern.
The ending had an unexpected twist, which pokes fun at a horror movie trope that is so common that it’s been turned into a joke. With an unexpected ending and an enthralling build-up, “Deep Blue Sea” will not disappoint. It’s no “Jaws,” but it has charms of its own.