We are barely a month into the summer season which has families looking for an answer to the heat. Many flock to the beaches around the nation, hoping a dip in the cool oceans will be their ticket to relief. But if you are like the many out there who are hesitant to go any further than waist-deep in the ocean, you have but one thing to thank for that – the shark movie and the attacks we’ve seen on the big screen..
Although some shark movies tend to lean into the “are you serious” realm (yes, we are talking about you, Sharknado), there have been plenty of truly effective films that can definitely have you freaked out about what’s swimming in the depths below you.
With Shark Week winding down, a new shark movie is set to premiere in the coming week. Jason Statham is back for Meg 2, so we thought, let’s take a look at the best shark movies to prime you for Statham’s battle against the world’s largest predator, the Megalodon.
Best Shark Movies to Watch Before Meg 2
8. The Meg (2018)
Well, if you are going to watch Meg 2, you may as well start with The Meg as a refresher. This shark movie is based on the best-selling Meg series from author Steve Alten that tells the story of Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), a rescue diver who, while attempting to save the crew of a damaged nuclear sub, has an encounter with a 75-foot Megalodon shark.
Unable to save the entire crew, Taylor is blamed for their deaths. Five years later, Taylor is called back into action when another rescue is needed, this time in the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench.
As Taylor completes this rescue mission, he soon realizes that something from the depths of the trench has followed them to the surface; something big.
7. Open Water (2003)
Open Water is a shark movie based on the true story of two American divers, Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who in 1998 were accidentally left out on the ocean when their dive-boat crew failed to take the proper headcount.
This story follows the same terrifying scenario. Daniel Kintner (Daniel Travis) and Susan Watkins (Blanchard Ryan) decide to take a break from their hard-working lives and take a scuba diving vacation. While on the dive, the two decide to separate from the group to have their own adventure.
When they finally resurface, the dive boat is long gone, having accidentally counted two on the boat twice. After some time, Daniel and Susan realize the boat is not coming back for them. They don’t fully appreciate their situation until they look under the surface and see sharks circling them from the depths.
6. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Deep Blue Sea is a surprisingly effective shark movie directed by Renny Harlin that stars Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, LL Cool J, and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie tells the story of a remote underwater research facility that has possibly found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease through the study of sharks.
To further their studies, the scientists had to genetically alter a number of sharks. When these sharks escape, it sends chaos through the facility as the shark’s rampage causes the facility to flood. Now the scientists are on the menu, and no one is safe.
5. 47 Meters Down (2017)
It starts as a simple trip between sisters to Mexico to help one get over the breakup with her boyfriend and ends up with terror 47 meters beneath the ocean’s surface.
Mandy Moore and Claire Holt star as the two sisters in this tense shark movie that sees the sisters cage-diving to see sharks. When the winch supporting the cage gives way, the two sisters sink to the bottom of the ocean.
The race is on to save the women as they are slowly running out of air. Complicating matters are the great white sharks circling above them. Matthew Modine also stars in this exciting shark movie written and directed by Johannes Roberts.
4. Bait (2012)
With the Australian film Bait, audiences are treated with a 2-for-1 horror scenario. This film tells the story of a group of people who are trapped in a grocery store after a freak tsunami virtually wipes out the city.
As the group tries to stay afloat inside the store, they realize the tsunami brought with it more than man-eating great white sharks and these sharks are hungry. As the sharks search for their next meal, the remaining survivors look for ways to escape the store by not having to get into the water.
Bait is filled with Australian actors no one may be familiar with but it also stars Julian McMahon who plays Doctor Doom in the Fantastic Four films and Christian Troy in the TV series Nip/Tuck.
3. The Reef (2011)
The Reef is another Australian survival film, an effective shark movie about a group of friends who are sailing to Indonesia to deliver a sailboat to a customer. After a day on the ocean, they find themselves in a heap of trouble when the boat hits a reef and capsizes.
Thankfully for them, there is a nearby island that is within swimming distance, if you consider 12 miles to be a reasonable swim. Soon after jumping into the ocean, they realize that they are being stalked by a large great white shark.
The Reef is filled with tension and suspense as one by one, the great white shows why it is the ocean’s most feared predator.
2. The Shallows (2016)
Yes, this is a shark movie, but more than that, The Shallows is a survival story pitting one woman against the elements, her situation, and the great white shark looking for its next meal.
Blake Lively stars as Nancy Adams, a young doctor who is looking for an escape after having just lost her mother to cancer. Nancy has found her solace in surfing and is doing so off a desolate beach in Mexico. But as she rides that last wave of the day, she is greeted by a 23-foot great white shark who knocks her off her board.
Although bitten in the leg by the shark, Nancy is able to get to a rock, which is a mere 200 yards from shore. Now Nancy has to find a way to swim to the shore with a bloody leg and a shark that is very patient.
1. Jaws (1975)
This is the ultimate in shark movies, the one that made people think long and hard about swimming in the ocean. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was a massive hit when it premiered in 1975. Based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel of the same name, Jaws tells the story of Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) who has himself a bit of a shark problem.
A great white has been stalking Amity Island, taking with it a few victims. Now Brody, along with Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) take to the sea to track down and kill the shark.
The film is excellent in every regard and features the classic John Williams theme music and one of the most noted monologues ever delivered on screen by Robert Shaw.