Schlock Watch: Deep Blue Sea



Deep Blue Sea (1999)


*Spoilers Throughout*

Deep_Blue_Sea_(1999_film)_posterDirector: Renny Harlin (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Cliffhanger, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Cutthroat Island, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Exorcist: The Beginning)

Schlock Category: Horror, When Animals Attack, Sci-Fi

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • OK Renny Harlin, show me what you got!!
  • The smooth 90s R&B playing on the boom box is totally attracting the sharks. It’s better than chum. 
  • Add to that the fine bottle of Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon that’s spilling into the ocean, the sharks are now insatiable. Not because sharks often confuse red wine with blood but because they just happen to have naturally attuned wine palates.
  • Where in the hell did Thomas Jane come from?! He just appears like magic on a boat and harpoons the carnivorous sharks.
  • Oh it was a “test shark.” It’s OK everyone it was a just a test shark.
  • So the main motivation to do more research on these sharks is to combat Alzheimer’s disease? Sure it’s a terrible disease but just seems not urgent enough for a movie about super killer sharks. 
  • Hey, didn’t they test on apes in Rise of the Planet of the Apes for Alzheimer’s research? That seems way more easier than highly dangerous fish, no?
  • How do you confuse the Himalayas and the Alps?!
  • Hearing Samuel L. Jackson try to impersonate Hervé Villechaize is worth the price of admission alone.
  • A moment ago when Thomas Jane was actually swimming along with the Mako shark he had flippers on. But now he gets out of the water and he’s wearing sandals. This type of continuity error wouldn’t bother me but it’s ridiculous to wear sandals swimming. It would look better if he was just barefooted.
  • Nice. The same license plate that Hooper cut out of the tiger shark in Jaws is the same one the Mako had in it’s mouth for no other reason to have this Jaws homage.
  • “Well what exactly does a shark wrangler do?” Well what do you think it means asshole? Has he never heard the word wrangler before?
  • Speaking of shark wrangling…I’m pretty sure that’s an impossible thing to be.
  • Is Samuel L. Jackson flirting with Thomas Jane? The way he’s asking him if he likes “wreck diving” is way too suggestive.

  • I wonder how much Thomas Jane’s criminal past will play out in this survivalist killer shark movie? Will he be a red-herring to a later plot involving someone’s death or is he going to rise up despite his shady past? Or will it probably amount to absolutely nothing but this boring banter about shady pasts and choices of morals? I bet my ass it’s the latter.
  • LL Cool J has a parrot that uses colorful swear words in its vocabulary. This would be impressive if the parrot wasn’t voiced by Frank Welker.
  • The shark CGI effects are terrible even for 1999.
  • Did LL Cool J just racially shame Jackson because he was climbing a mountain in the alps. He claims that’s a white thing.
  • Why exactly is this scene here of the small skeleton crew of this underwater research facility celebrating the main female scientist’s birthday? I mean, why her birthday specifically? Why is there even a party scene?! There’s literally 8 people here.
  • I like Thomas Jane but this is not his finest hour.
  • I’m assuming this underwater research facility does other things than just research sharks, but why are they using this research facility to do this type of research on the makos? Can’t they just be in a large tank in an aquarium somewhere on land and not in this underwater facility? All they’re doing is experimenting on brain tissue. You can literally do that anywhere as long as you have the shark in captivity. You don’t need to be in this highly elaborate setting that as it happens, becomes more dangerous when there’s a breach.
  • Of course a storm’s coming. There’s no way they could’ve predicted that when the drug company’s chief (Jackson) funding the research happens to make a visit.
  • I’m getting a lot of Jurassic World vibes from this movie so far. If I was Harlin and the producers I’d call foul.
  • Are they honestly harnessing this shark down with just those two straps?!
  • Why are you sticking your arm anywhere near the shark’s mouth ya moron?!


  • Stellen had a bad injury no doubt about that but his life is more at risk being in this medical helicopter during this nasty storm.
  • And yeah, he’s now dead. And so are the helicopter pilots. If they had just cauterized his arm and waited for the storm to pass, EVERYONE would still be alive.
  • This musical score is really annoying and just won’t let up. Go back to playing guitar with Yes, Trevor Rabin!
  • Hahahaha. Now I’m singing “Owner of a Lonely Shark” in my head.
  • A shark using Stellan Skarsgård on a gurney as a battering-ram to break the glass into the man control room is equally the best and dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a movie.
  • I’m just a layman but shouldn’t the glass that is three stories underwater be tempered or shatter-proof?
  • So with the water slowly flooding the research facility, that’s the way the sharks can stalk and kill the rest of the humans. I was wondering how aquatic killers would be able to terrorize them being that they are in a dry environment. I’ll give the film some credit for this sort of scenario.
  • “You ate my bird!”
  • OK I understand that the oven’s gas was leaking and that LL can ignite the gas and the shark but that explosion seemed out of place.
  • I’ve seen that Jackson death scene before but man, that’s just Schlock gold right there.
  • “Get me out of here Carter! I don’t want to die!” Top-notch screenwriting.
  • Was that an actual vibrator joke?! Michael Rapport needs batteries and asks where she kept her [motions with his hand and makes a humming noise]. And it’s the room of the girl who just died a moment ago. What an asshole.
  • Why in hell are they talking about Einstein’s theory of relativity now?
  • This is a good time to mention how much I can’t stand Michael Rapaport. 
  • These shark attacks are ridiculously hilarious. They’re super fast and violent and with the added effect of lack of good CGI it’s schlocky as hell.
  • I’m shocked Renny Harlin didn’t have a scene where the sharks scoot on their tails and try to walk or try to use their fins to open a door. One already happened to turn on the oven that LL Cool J was hiding in. Seems like he missed a perfect schlock opportunity. SCHLOCKORTUNITY!!!
  • This movie is paced so frantically that I’m not even sure how many Sharks there are. I know one blew up but I don’t know how many there were.
  • And why didn’t anyone in this facility name the sharks? Seems like something scientists would do right? They have like 3 sharks that they’re researching and experimenting on, yet they don’t bother naming them. Plus it would help us as an audience to how many there are, what shark is attacking or approaching. They could’ve named them Larry, Moe and Curly to be funny and ironic.
  • Not that I’m complaining but why is Saffron Burrows stripping down to her undies?
  • I’m just wild about Saffron….


  • Ah, so she could stand on her rubber wetsuit as she fries the shark by electrocuting it. Scientifically I’m not sure that would work.
  • And how did that shark get in there anyway? We saw her lock the door when she came in. They made a point to show us her locking it. So that means my wish that the sharks can open doors is true or that it was in that room already and waiting several minutes while she retrieved her computer files to try to kill her.
  • I don’t know what’s more…the amount of shark attacks or the amount of scenes where water is spurting out of vents, ducts or doors.
  • That was a superb plan.
  • LL Cool J is actually stabbing the shark with his huge crucifix while being half eaten. The power of Christ repels you!
  • Wait, LL Cool J survived that attack?! He was bitten in the leg or waist and was violently dragged for a few moments while in the jaws of the shark. Ridiculous.
  • Oh wow, the shark actually devoured Saffron Burrows. I did not see that coming. The female lead not surviving was the furthest from my mind. Kudos for that.
  • Hahahaha. LL Cool J harpoons the shark while Thomas Jane is “riding” the shark and the harpoon goes through the dorsal fin and also Thomas Jane’s leg pining them together.
  • “Bring me some sushi!” Ummm. Like 6 people just died dude.
  • And they’re still cracking jokes. What a bunch of dicks. Seriously what is with the out-of-tone humor in this flick? 
  • LL Cool J actually wrote and sang a shark-themed rap for the movie’s soundtrack? And it’s awful and doesn’t fit the movie at all.
  • I just remembered that Ronny Cox was in the beginning of the film when Saffron and Jackson were discussing going further with the Alzheimer’s research on the sharks. He was probably the head of the company but he didn’t utter a single word. Just sat in his chair while the other two talked. So weird.

Exploitation Level (Gore, Nudity, Etc.): Can’t have a good killer shark movie and not have plenty of gory deaths. Deep Blue Sea is not a great movie but it certainly delivers on the blood and guts. And I think it always knows it’s not high quality art—but that’s what makes it so endearing that it knows what it is and still is entertaining. In Michael Rapaport’s death scene, the shark bites him, a little shakin’ & tenderizing, rips him in half and the view is focused on his severed bottom half with a CGI twitching leg. It’s fantastic.

Best Scene: Easily the Samuel L. Jackson death scene. Bless Jackson’s heart that he is not just an accomplished actor but he picks such fun roles and films as well. From the Tarantino’s to playing Nick Fury he always seems to get the characters he plays and plays them well. Even if they’re over the top, they are fun. Hell, he is still really the only aspect of the Star Wars prequels I still like. But the best part of his death scene isn’t the gory demise but in the way he groans on and on in this big rousing pep talk speech about uniting to survive and mid-sentence he’s fish food. 

Worst Scene: The whole film is a schlocky mess and everything about it is hokey and lame, even the kills are in a bad 90s CGI manner. But If I was going by logical reasons, the scene when Stellan Skarsgård is on the gurney and the shark and the storm cause the death of the helicopter pilots and the radio lady in the tower and then moments later the shark uses Skarsgård as a ram and the force of that underwater ramming caused the glass to shatter has to be the dumbest scene in this dreck.

Best Line: “There’s doctor Jim Whitlock, the most brilliant man ever!” 

“He’s pissing into the wind! How brilliant can he be?”


Well How Schlocky Is It?: Very Schlocky. The CGI alone will make you cringe with laughter. I know this was made in 1999 but the shark attacks and deaths are so out-dated in terms of how great CGI has become for effects. But that is now part of Deep Blue Sea‘s charm. If you can’t sit down for the 105 minutes and enjoy yourself by watching uber-violent fish rip apart half a dozen humans (and a parrot) then you sir, are no friend of mine. Truth be told this was the first time I’m seeing this and I’m kicking myself (probably should be a Cinemea Culpa post) for missing out for almost, jeez what, 20 years! It has a great cast too which makes how bafflingly bad this turned out. Which reminds me, where has Thomas Jane been?! I haven’t seen him in anything since The Mist. It’s a shame Renny Harlin doesn’t make high-profile action flicks anymore. He was the first Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay-type of action director. Maybe the whole Exorcist prequel debacle really screwed up his career. Kinda hope he recovers because his schlock is great.


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