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What is the Best Shark Movie That Isn’t Jaws?

July 22, 2019
What happens if you remove Jaws from the best shark movie question?

What is the best shark movie that isn’t Jaws? By removing the best shark movie ever from the list, a whole new world of possibilities open up because we’ve always just considered Jaws to be the stock number one pick (with good reason). I initially thought about putting together a list based on my opinions. But, that’s boring, so I pulled together the shark movies with reliable box office, critical and audience data, and I created nine categories to see how they stacked up against each other.  

Here are the movies:

  1. Jaws 2 (1978)
  2. Jaws 3-D (1983)
  3. Jaws: the Revenge (1987)
  4. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
  5. Open Water (2003)
  6. The Reef (2010)
  7. Shark Night (2011)
  8. Bait 3-D (2012)
  9. The Shallows  (2016)
  10. 47 Meters Down (2017)
  11. The Meg (2018)

*I know there are other shark movies. I just needed to have critical (Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic) audience (IMDb) and box office (Box Office Mojo) data to include them. 

Here are the nine categories:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes Score
  2. Metacritic Score
  3. IMDb Score
  4. Domestic Box Office
  5. Best Kill
  6. Best Shark
  7. Shark Screen Time
  8. Kill Count
  9. Amount of Sharks 
Here is how they ranked.

The Rules:

  1. The movie with the lowest amount of points wins
  2. The Shallows and The Reef both have impressive 79% Tomatometer Scores, so they each got 1 point, because they have the best critical scores. Jaws: The Revenge has a 0% Tomatometer Score, so it received the most points in the category. 
  3. Seven of the categories are based on data
  4. Two of the categories are based on my opinion

Quick note: I enjoy all of these movies. It’s very hard to make a theatrically released shark movie that I dislike. 

11. Bait 3-D – 64 points

Best Moment: A large shark gets blown away by a shotgun

People trapped inside a grocery store with two sharks is a fun idea

10. Shark Night – 57

Best moment: A Great White Shark gets up to 65 MPH to eat a guy on a jet ski (I did the math). 

Fastest shark ever

9. Jaws 3-D – 57

Best moment: The shark moves in slow motion and blows up a window

This is when the shark becomes kinda magical

8. Jaws: The Revenge – 55

Best moment: A lady gets eaten while riding a banana boat

I tracked the sharks journey. You should read the article.

7. 47 Meters Down – 53

Best moment: The flare scene

Pure nightmare fuel

6. Open Water – 52

Best moment: An ending that punches you in the gut

Open Water works despite featuring zero gentically modified sharks.

5. The Reef – 49

The Reef is a gut-punch of a movie that focuses on four people being hunted by a great white shark after their boat capsizes during their trip to Indonesia. Based on a true story, The Reef looks great on a tiny $3.8 million budget and a lot of the credit goes to director Andrew Traucki, who also directed the fun creature feature Black Water. I love how it focuses on an inferred threat, while still featuring a decent amount of shark action. The Great White’s presence is always felt, and while watching it again, I kept finding myself stressed out, despite knowing what was going to happen. You should check it out, it’s currently streaming on Shudder.

Best moment:The initial great white attack is super tense

Watch The Reef on Shudder. You will dig it.

4. The Meg – 39

It’s Jason Statham vs. a giant shark, nothing more needs to be said. It was a smash hit at the box office ($145 million domestic, $530 worldwide) and the critical scores weren’t terrible (46% RT and Metacritic). I think the fourth spot is accurate, because it’s not as insane as it should’ve been, but it still features a giant creature trying to eat Jason Statham. How awesome would it be if Statham and Crank 1 & 2 directors Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine reunited for the sequel?

Best moment: There are multiple megalodons 

Sadly, Statham never spin kicks the shark

3. Jaws 2 – 37

Jaws 2 is a solid sequel that adopts a “this sequel is unnecessary, so we’re gonna turn the violence to 11” style of storytelling. I love that the sharks face is burnt during a bonkers boat attack in the beginning of the film, because it looks super badass as it takes down helicopters and eats teenagers. I remember this movie scared the crap out of me when I was younger, because it focuses on a massive animatronic shark attacking teenagers who need way bigger boats. Also, it pulled in a very impressive $300 million (adjusted for inflation) at the domestic box office, which is a massive haul for any film.

Best moment: The boat attack and explosion is gnarly

I love how badass this shark looks with the burnt face

2. The Shallows – 32

The shark in The Shallows is one of my favorites (if not my favorite) because it holds grudges and is straight-up mean. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, The Commuter) loves placing characters in desperate, time-dependant situations, then, putting them through the absolute wringer. Blake Lively crushes her role as a resourceful surfer, who is stuck on an isolated rock while an incredibly-mean great white shark circles her endlessly. The Shallows is a lot of fun, and I’m pretty sure you will love Steven Seagull. 

Best moment: The jellyfish attack. It looks really cool.

The Shallows features my favorite shark.

1. Deep Blue Sea 21

Deep Blue Sea is a perfect summer popcorn movie that features fun kills, inventive set-pieces and great animatronic sharks (The CGI sharks are soul-crushing though). I love that director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight) was given $60 million dollars to tell an original R-rated movie featuring genetically modified sharks chasing scientists around an underwater facility in the Pacific ocean. You won’t see many movies like this anymore, and I think that’s why it is still beloved by people like Stephen King and Brian Raftery. Also, the sharks are on screen a lot, and it features the best kill of any shark movie (including Jaws)

Best moment: Russell gets interrupted

Easy win. Deep Blue Sea is the clear #2 shark movie

Let us know your rankings in the comments!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2019 9:21 am

    Excellent, scientifically generated list, but there must be a glitch somewhere. It missed Sharknado. 🙂

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