Even if you live in a pineapple under the sea or threw your television out the window in a drunken fit of rage one night a few weeks ago, you’re likely aware that we’re currently balls deep into Shark Week…
…Discovery’s Channel’s annual celebration of those underwater beasties who once upon a time turned a man by the name of Quint into a bucket of human chum.
I don’t think you need me to tell you that this week is the absolute perfect week to revisit Jaws and other shark attack films, but in the event that you do, allow me to provide that service for you.
This week is the perfect week to revisit Jaws and other shark attack films!
There. You happy?
In celebration of Shark Week here at Dread Central, we initially flirted with the idea of bringing you a list of the best shark-themed horror films to watch this week. But then we realized that not everyone lives inside of a video store (would be cooler if we did, wouldn’t it?), a sad fact that would result in many of you not being able to enjoy those films during the actual Semana del Tiburón. And what fun is that?
Enter Netflix. With hundreds of movies available for instant streaming, we were pretty sure there had to be at least a handful that featured sharks brutally murdering and consuming human beings. Lo and behold, our searches revealed eight such films.
Though we can’t in good faith recommend that those eight films are all worth watching, we can nevertheless guarantee that they’ll make your Shark Week a whole lot more sharky. And really, that’s all we’re trying to do here.
So read on for a rundown of eight shark attack horror movies that you can watch on Netflix right this instant. And may your Shark Week be merry and white… GREAT WHITE!
That was totally corny. I shouldn’t have typed that.
MISSION OF THE SHARK (1991)
Remember that epic monologue Quint delivers in Jaws, where he tells Hooper and Brody about the time a ship he was on sank and nearly everyone on board was subsequently devoured by hungry sharks? Well, that whole speech is based on a true event that happened in July of 1945, when the Japanese sunk the United States Navy cruiser known as the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Out of nearly 2,000 crewmen, only 717 made it out of the water alive, with the rest either dying in the blast or being eaten by sharks. The 1991 made-for-TV movie Mission of the Shark is based on that real-life tragedy, centering on shipwrecked sailors who must fight to stay alive amid a school of hungry sharks in the Philippine Sea. Starring Stacy Keach, the movie was directed by Robert Iscove, who went on to helm such gems as From Justin to Kelly and She’s All That.
RED WATER (2007)
Before Syfy cornered the market on original movies about killer sharks, the TBS Superstation aired an original shark movie of their own in the summer of 2007. Titled Red Water, the made-for-TV movie become one of the highest rated in the network’s history, proving something that Discovery Channel confirms every single year: People just plain love sharks. Starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Kristy Swanson and Coolio – yes, THAT Coolio – Red Water chronicles the trials and tribulations of a freshwater bull shark that wreaks havoc as it heads up a Louisiana river. Interesting to note that the film was written by J.D. Feigelson, who also penned the TV movies Dark Night of the Scarecrow and Wes Craven’s Chiller.
THE REEF (2010)
Seven years after the release of Open Water, Australia got in on the fun with a similar film titled The Reef, directed by Andrew Traucki. In it five friends capsize while sailing to Indonesia, finding themselves stranded in the water and at the complete mercy of sharks that want nothing more than to turn them into a hearty meal. A low-budget, character-driven affair with real sharks in favor of CGI, The Reef is genuinely scary, and I think you’ll find that it effectively washes the taste of some of that Syfy dreck out of your mouth. I know I said that I can’t personally recommend every film on this list, but The Reef is definitely one you should check out, as it’s one of the better shark attack movies to come along in recent years.
DARK TIDE (2012)
It’s not often that we get to see Academy Award winners doing battle with sharks, but that’s precisely what 2012’s Dark Tide brought to the table, putting Halle Berry face-to-face with a great white. In the film, from the director of Blue Crush and Into the Blue, Berry plays a “shark whisperer” who nearly lost her life after an attack one year prior, forced to face her fears and return to the water when a millionaire businessman commissions her for a dangerous dive. Released into limited theaters in April and then dumped onto home video shortly thereafter, Dark Tide is one of few films to actually have a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 19 critical reviews. Almost makes you want to watch it, doesn’t it?!
SHARK WEEK (2012)
Wait, they made a Shark Week movie?! Well, not exactly. Premiering in August of 2012 during the real Shark Week, this Syfy Original Movie was titled as such in order to draw viewers in, sharing no actual connection with anything the Discovery Channel has ever done. Mashing together Saw and Jaws, Syfy’s Shark Week is about strangers who find themselves stranded on an isolated island with a whacko rich dude who’s intent on feeding them to the surrounding predators. Not surprisingly, the production company behind the film was The Asylum, who the following year went on to strike gold and shatter Syfy records with…
After failing to capitalize on the ratings success of Shark Week the previous year, Syfy and The Asylum hit a big time home run in July of 2017 with Sharknado, which immediately won the world over with its ridiculous concept. Sillier even than Syfy’s usual fare, the film of course centered on a shark-infested tornado that saw sharks literally raining from the sky in Los Angeles with washed up actors Ian Ziering and Tara Reid tasked with putting an end to the most unnatural of disasters. Americans love stupid shit, and so it was no surprise that Sharknado became a ratings and social media success story, the film spawning a sequel this year. At the time of writing this, only the first film is available for instant streaming, and it’s needless to say one that’s best paired with a whole lot of strong drink.
2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK (2012)
Two heads are better than one, as they say, and if you’re a believer in that concept, then you might want to check out 2-Headed Shark Attack, another Syfy Original that came courtesy of the folks over at The Asylum. In fact, this one was directed by Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray (son of Fred), who also handled directing duties on the aforementioned Shark Week. Premiering in September of 2012, 2-Headed Shark Attack very much lived up to its alluring title, featuring a shark with two heads that consumes a group of young partiers. If that sounds like fun, you’ll be happy to know that this one is pretty damn entertaining with the highlight being a scene where the titular shark tosses a victim between its two mouths like a ragdoll. Also noteworthy is the cast, which includes Carmen Electra, Charlie O’Connell and even Hulk Hogan’s daughter, Brooke, BROTHER!
MEGA SHARK VS. MECHA SHARK (2014)
And finally, we’ve got another Asylum film, which went straight-to-DVD in January of this year. A follow-up to Mega Shark vs. Giant Octupus and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark saw the government developing a giant robot shark in an attempt to put an end to the “Mega Shark” once and for all. Billed as “Monster vs. Metal,” this bout of computer-generated madness starred 1980s pop music sensation Debbie Gibson, continuing The Asylum’s trend of infusing recognizable faces from the past into their movies. I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s the best movie ever made about a shark fighting a robot shark, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you needn’t look any further.
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