Deep Blue Sea

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On Aquatica, a remote former submarine refueling facility converted into a laboratory, a team of scientists are searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Unknown to the other scientists, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) violates a code of ethics and genetically engineers three Mako sharks to increase their brain capacity so their brain tissue can be harvested as a cure for Alzheimer’s, but this causes the side effects to make the sharks smarter, faster, and more dangerous.

After one of the sharks escapes and attacks a boat full of teenagers, Aquatica’s financial backers send corporate executive Russel Franklin (Samuel L Jackson) to investigate the facility. To prove that the research is working, the team manages to remove brain tissue from the largest shark. While examining it, Dr. Jim Whitlock (Stellan Skarsgard), one of the researchers, is attacked by the shark and his arm is torn off. Brenda Kerns (Aida Turturro) calls a helicopter to evacuate Jim but the shark attacks the helicopter killing Brenda and the pilots. It then uses Jim’s body as a battering ram to smash a window, flooding the research facility and freeing the other sharks. Susan confesses to genetically altering the sharks, causing the others to get angry at her.

Susan, Russell, Carter Blake (Thomas Jane), Janice Higgins (Jacqueline McKenzie) and Tom Scoggins (Michael Rapaport) make their way to the top of the center. After delivering a dramatic speech emphasizing the need for group unity, Russel is attacked and killed by one of the sharks. While going another way, a ladder falls, leaving them dangling over the water. Janice falls in, and despite Carter’s attempts to save her, she is eaten. Meanwhile, the cook, Sherman “Preacher” Dudley (LL Cool J) kills the first shark by blowing it up with the oven gas in the flooding kitchen. He appears in time to save Carter, Tom and Susan.

Shocked by Janice’s and Russell’s deaths, Tom goes with Carter to the flooded lab because the controls to open a door are in the lab. The largest shark attacks and Tom is killed. Susan heads into a room to collect some research. Eventually, the second shark follows and almost eats her but she manages to electrocute it, killing it instantly, though at the cost of destroying her research in the process. Carter, Susan and Preacher head to the top of the research center. Preacher is caught by the third shark and is almost eaten, but swims to safety after stabbing the shark in the eye, forcing it to release him.

Susan, in an effort to distract the third and final shark, cuts herself and dives into the water. When she attempts to climb out, the ladder crumbles and breaks, and she is devoured by the enormous shark. But in attacking her, the shark has moved close enough for Preacher to shoot it with an explosive harpoon, which he detonates by connecting the trailing wires to a battery. With all three sharks now gone, Preacher and Carter wait atop the flooded facility as they see a boat containing other researchers arriving.


Before “Shark Week” ruled the waters, Deep Blue Sea was the big fish in the pond. That is, if you don’t count Jaws. Now, sharks seem to get a bad rap for being cold-blooded killers, unless they’re going to meetings and reciting “Fish are friends, not food”, and this film takes that and makes it worse by giving them higher intellect.

What is this about?

Two scientists conduct research on sharks, hoping to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When they decide to take a dangerous shortcut, they end up breeding larger sharks with larger brains — and near-human intelligence.

What did I like?

Idea. Remember the first time you saw Jurassic Park and thought that the idea of sucking DNA from mosquitos trapped in amber would result in the creation dinosaurs? Well, the same thought process is on display here, as the scientists make an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease by testing it on sharks who have remarkable powers of not aging.

Homage. One of the first sharks that we see has swallowed a Louisiana license plate. What is the significance of this, you ask? Well, it is the same license plate that was used in Jaws. So, we have a nice little reference to that has long been called the greatest shark film of all time in one that was primed to be its successor.

Ladies Love Cool James. Not to date myself, but I remember when LL Cool J was a skinny rapper from Brooklyn. Now, he’s quite the accomplished actor (not to mention he’s filled out a bit). While the cast is decent enough, it is LL Cool J that is the standout to me. A bit of comedic timing mixed with dramatic and action chops. How come this guy isn’t a bigger star like Will Smith?

What didn’t I like?

Set up. The last scenes of the film is an obvious set up for a sequel. My issue with that is this needed t be established before sequels can even be thought of. As it were, the sequel never materialized, but still one has to wonder why they felt the need to make an attempt to establish the possibility of future films. Did they really think this was going to spawn off others?

Shark. So, the thing you would mainly be watching this for, the sharks, aren’t really the impressive to see. As a matter of fact, these things were def the forerunners of those shark movies so popular on Syfy these days. Saying that these are bad effects doesn’t even start to describe how bad these sharks look. What ever happened to actually creating creatures?

Rationale. I got to think about something just before I started writing, this…why would you take nature’s assassin, as I like to call them, and make them smarter? Even worse…why do so when you in an underwater research station that, should something go wrong, would fill with water and you’d be in their element? Aside from it just being an obvious plot point, and the title of the film, I don’t really see why they couldn’t have moved the setting to a more land based lab, but maybe that’s just me trying to make sense out of this whole thing.

For me, Deep Blue Sea is actually an exciting sci-fi horror/thriller that requires you to turn your brain off and suspend disbelief in order to enjoy. It isn’t a masterpiece, but pretty enjoyable. I won’t highly recommend it, but if you get the chance, take a shot at it!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


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