The Best Shark Attack Movies, Ranked

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Shark attacks are, statistically, incredibly rare. In the United States, your chances of being bitten by a shark are approximately 1 in 11 million. The trip to the beach is definitely more dangerous. And yet…it’s hard to go into the water and not worry, in some primitive recess of your mind, that there might be a fin pointing straight at you. Movies probably have a lot to do with it, as the “shark attack creature feature” is a classic genre.

It almost feels like you’re more likely to see a shark attack movie on a theater marquee than to be bitten by a shark, that’s how many shark movies there are had. A recent surprise success, 47 meters below, turns five today. To celebrate the occasion, SYFY WIRE ranks the eight best shark attack movies. Please note that we are quite specific about this. Documentaries don’t count, nor do animated movies or movies with sharks as characters. These are just movies where a shark attacks one or more people – usually in the ocean, but in one case, as we’ll see, via a tornado.

8. The mega

There’s a lot to love about this film where Jason Statham battles a giant shark. While not as absurd (or gory!) as the book it’s based on, The mega is a thrilling blockbuster with an oversized beast at its center. Perhaps the only thing holding it back on this list is the very thing that makes it so fun. The shark footage is a hoot, but a shark fighting a submarine is a little different than a shark stalking a beachgoer. And, those attack scenes are secondary to the live action, which is Statham going mano a sharko with the oversized beast.

seven. The deep blue sea

Another ridiculous movie The deep blue sea is cheesy fun for most of its runtime. (Giant genetically engineered sharks on the loose at a sinking research station? I don’t mind if I do!) only characters who understands the gravity of the situation and one of the apparent protagonists, is in the middle of an emotional speech when he is suddenly wiped out by a giant shark mid-sentence.

6. Sharknado

You can’t get more ridiculous than Sharknado…except for the many sequels to SYFY’s beloved film franchise. While some of the more recent films were too much into their own joke, the original is a wonderful blend of two silly ideas that knows exactly how to play each other.

5. the reef

The first three movies on this list are wondrously over the top, knowingly, but the next two have much higher stakes – and a nasty streak that could make even the fiercest tall white look like a little kitty. the reefan Australian film about a group of sailors who must swim dangerously to a nearby island after their yacht sinks, is an ingenious and brutal film.

4. The wide

The wide is perhaps too upsetting. It’s one of the best films on this list – and almost certainly the most realistic – but the sheer desperation is overwhelming, making it less fun to watch than more popcorn-friendly shark attack films. Yet the story of two divers who were accidentally left behind in, you guessed it, open water is extremely effective. The most horrible thing might be that these two people are obviously doomed to die. before you even get to the sharks circling below them.

3. The shallows

The evil genius The shallows is its simplicity. Blake Lively is stuck on a rock. She can see the shore. It’s really not that far! Unfortunately for her, there is a small problem: a big great white shark. The shallows is a simple “woman versus shark” story, and there’s no doubt that she’s the underdog in this fight, which only makes it more exciting when she goes for it.

2. 47 meters below

Many of the best shark attack movies know that sharks are just part of what makes it so scary – a big part, sure, but not all. Sharks live in water. Humans don’t. The environment is inherently dangerous for earthlings like us, and 47 meters below takes that premise and submerges it… 47 meters below the surface. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt are trapped on the seabed when the chain holding their shark cage together breaks, and although they are relatively safe from the spinning sharks inside, they are starved for air. But, if they leave the cage, they can’t just pause for the surface because coming back up too fast will give them the bends, a life-threatening condition that divers can suffer from. It’s a killer premise, a small budget Gravity in the sea instead of space, and with deadly sharks instead of a swarm of debris.

1. Jaws

Every other movie on this list is a good shark attack movie. Jawsthe movie that made Steven Spielberg Steven Spielberg, is one of the best films ever made. That’s not even a fair comparison, that’s how it is Jaws is. Based on Peter Benchley’s bestseller, Jaws is a nuanced look at marriage, being a stranger in a small town, the economic pressures of tourism, and class. It’s also about a giant shark that eats people and sinks a boat, all to John Williams’ iconic, hair-raising score. Jaws gets credit for inventing the blockbuster of the summer, but it’s far better than virtually anything that would come after. With JawsSpielberg took a mouthful the size of Bruce — and not only was he able to chew it, but he swallowed it whole like a hapless beachgoer.


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