Horrortoberfest ’18 Day 18 – Deep Blue Sea (1999)

The urge to make the entirety of this review be the lyrics to LL Cool J’s end-of-movie rap “Deepest, Bluest (Shark’s Fin)” is almost overwhelming. Thankfully, I do still have some restraint left in me. Probably the saddest part about watching this movie is that I already had most of the surprises spoiled for me going in. Which I am now going to spoil for anyone reading this, so I guess if you were waiting to watch this almost 20 year old horror movie until now like me then maybe just skip to the end? I don’t know, I aint your momma.

Unlike the sharks from the Jaws movies, Deep Blue Sea is dealing with sharks that have been genetically altered to have big ol’ brains. This is because the scientists at the research station are attempting to harvest shark brain proteins for work on a cure for Alzheimer’s and more brains equals more protein. Why they couldn’t just harvest from more sharks is not addressed but I digress. The sharks attack during a storm and when a helicopter comes to rescue one of the injured (Stellan Skarsgård), it crashes into the tower which was apparently made out of C4 and housing a year’s supply of gasoline. The explosion fucks up the rest of the station and it begins to sink into the ocean. Which is great for the sharks but less great for the humans they begin to devour.

So one of the biggest surprises in this, which isn’t a surprise at all if you have heard anything about the movie, is the way in which they handle certain character deaths. Samuel L. Jackson plays a CEO that survived an avalanche and is played up as the person that will know what to do in an emergency. He is eaten mid inspiring speech. LL Cool J plays the station’s cook and they keep teasing his death even after he survives an improbably long time but instead they have him not only take out 2 of the 3 sharks but also survive the whole movie. The love interest/main scientist which would normally end up being one of the two survivors with Thomas Jane’s shark wrangler dies at the end while trying to be heroic. The movie is very aware of audience expectations for things and has fun playing with those expectations.

One of the things I didn’t know going in that was a fairly interesting surprise for me was that the movie appears to have a pretty intense anti-science/pro-religion stance. LL Cool J’s character is nicknamed Preacher and he spends the entire movie praying and generally being faithful; he survives. Thomas Jane is basically the only other non-scientist around and he also survives and spends much of the movie being critical of what they were doing here. The main scientist lady gets to see her own research destroyed right in front of her twice over before getting ripped in half and eaten. Sam Jackson’s character also gets a quick lecture from LL when he tells him to quit doing shit like mountain climbing and leave that dangerous shit to the white people. There’s a lot of “Don’t fuck with things” sentiment that seems kinda weird for a movie about killer super sharks.

I’d give the movie a 3.5 out of 5. A lot of stuff makes no sense but it’s all in service of making the movie entertaining and it definitely is that.

2 responses to “Horrortoberfest ’18 Day 18 – Deep Blue Sea (1999)

  1. This movie was our go-to bad/funny movie in college, mostly because of the song and how thick they lay it on with LL Cool J. Years later, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and, apparently, Saffron Burrow’s (lady scientist, sorta the villain, lady on the poster) character was supposed to survive, but the test audiences hated her* so much they did reshoots to have her die. Also, I just checked and it’s Thomas Jane’s character “Carter” who’s the surviving white guy, while Michael Rapaport’s character, confusingly called Tom, who is the last white guy eaten.

    *1999, *sign*

  2. Oh, I forgot: in hair-tearing things, there’s a scene when Saffron Burrow’s character is trapped in a flooded room with a shark, but has the means to electrocute it (I don’t remember how), but needs to not extrocute gerself too. So she climbs on a thing that is mostly our of the water, then uses her rubber wetsuit to act as an insulator (I dunno if this would work, since the wetsuit would be wet, but as “film science” it works), thrn zaps the shark.

    Anyway, fairly clever (the other sharks get whacked by LLCJ blowing one up with gas from and oven, and LLCJ harpooning one and then running a current into the harpoon), but they have the insulator thing done by Saffron Burrow’s taking off and standing on her wetsuit, so the audience can see her movie star underwear. It’s a pretty good example of the “always use women charachers to service the male gaze” that’s all over RPG art and video games.

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