THE CREATURE (1998)
In 1972 a top secret military experiment fusing shark and dolphin DNA goes astray when the even more top secret project genetically engineering a shark-human hybrid goes amok and escapes.
Twenty five years later the creature turns up off the shores of a Caribbean island where shark researcher Craig T. Nelson and ex-wife marine biologist Kim Cattral argue over whose work is more important and who their teenage son should be spending more time with. Exes do that.
Based on Peter Benchley's 1994 novel White Shark (which had Nazi experiments the origin for the monster) this two part made for TV movie has a pretty strong story and a unique amphibious shark creature that stands upright and looks pretty badass courtesy of the great Stan Winston.
Finally released on DVD in 2007.
As he did in Jaws , Benchley has a cameo.
DEEP BLUE SEA (1999)
An undersea research lab is home to three large mako sharks which are being experimented on in the search for a cure for Alzheimer's disease with increased intelligence and aggression being unwelcome side effects. Before long, the rogue sharks are hunting the scientists who were working on them.
The mechanical beasts in Deep Blue Sea are simply the best looking sharks to appear in a motion picture up to that time, they're equally realistic and scary.
And there's enough subtle Jaws references to please any shark movie afficianado .
SRF = 8
SHARK ATTACK (2000)
An African fishing village is ruined financially due to recent shark attacks so marine biologist Casper Van Dien is sent to investigate. He discovers that a corrupt scientist is performing experimental work on the sharks in a search for a cure for cancer with increased aggression being an unwelcome side effect (sound familiar?).
Mostly real shark footage used except for some close-ups.
SRF = 2
SHARK ATTACK 2 (2000)
A team off the coast of South Africa are hunting vicious great whites , who are the offspring of the sharks experimented on in Shark Attack , for various personal reasons of revenge. This one has pretty wooden acting all around.
Has a mix of real shark footage, some cheap CGI and plastic looking models.
SRF = 6
SHARK HUNTER (2001)
An eleven old boy sees his parents killed by a giant monster shark so of course as an adult has to seek revenge or study it or something...
Turns out the beast he saw was a Megalodon the prehistoric 60 foot long shark that has been extinct for millions of years. Wisely the producers keep the mammoth creature largely in the deep shadows to uphold a bit of mystery (and mask the cheap CGI effects).
Actually has the line "we're gonna need a bigger sub".
SRF = 9
SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON (2002)
Not sure what's worse here. The atrocious dubbing that doesn't come close to matching the actors' lip movements, shooting in Bulgaria and trying to pass it off as Mexico or getting an almost 100% Bulgarian cast to stand in for actual Mexicans!
Actually the worst thing is probably the cheap CGI shark that changes size depending on what it's attacking.
I got this one for free about ten years ago and still feel ripped off every time I watch it.
SRF = 14
SHARK ZONE (2002)
A head lifeguard (or something...) who as a teen saw his father devoured by a shark now tries to warn the mayor of San Francisco that a group of great whites (who do not travel in groups, by the way) are attacking the area. As in Jaws , the mayor refuses to close the beaches which would affect the tourism income. Apparently people only visit San Fran for its beaches.
Shark Zone uses lots of stock footage of great whites but the actual attacks, of which there are many, aren't bad. The child abduction sequence that keeps flipping between San Francisco and New York City is pretty unfortunate however.
And there's a lot of American flags in many scenes to try and hide the fact that (like Shark Attack 3) this was filmed largely in Bulgaria.
They should have tried harder.
SRF = 19
An off shore drilling operation unleashes the thought to be extinct giant prehistoric shark Megalodon.
The CGI monster attacks the CGI deep sea facility and a few CGI underwater subs.
For some reason as the film goes on the special effects get worse.
SRF = 2
OPEN WATER (2003)
This one stands apart from most of the post-Jaws shark attack films.
While on vacation a couple accidently get left behind on their scuba diving tour. The film uses an extremely effective handheld video style making the whole thing seem like a personal home movie. Once they get stranded at sea however the threat of their limited survival options becomes terrifyingly real.
For anyone jaded by killer shark movies (and I understand having seen more than most) Open Water will bring that fear of sharks right back into focus.
The two main leads spend the majority of the picture surrounded by nothing by water with curious sharks tentatively moving in to investigate. The sense of impending dread is overwhelming making this the most realistically frightening killer shark movie out there.
Filmed on location using real sharks.
SRF = 2
RED WATER (2003)
Oil drilling in Louisiana is interrupted by a ravenous bull shark attacking locals and a group of thugs led by Coolio looking for sunken treasure.
Lou Diamond Phillips tries to make sense of it all in this made for TV movie but really, Coolio?