CONSTANTINOS PSYLLIDES says these terrors of the seas have been given a bad rap on film

Man, Steven Spielberg really messed up sharks for the whole world. Following the success of Jaws, going into the water is never the same experience, as we see monsters hiding just under the surface. This perception of course is misguided and fuelled by primal fear, as even the author of the book the movie is based on admits that he could not write the same book today with what marine biologists now know of sharks. Turns out, sharks should be scared of humans as their population declined by 70 per cent since the 1970s, when Jaws first came out, due to fishing pressure.

Ethical or not though, Jaws spawned a whole new genre of movies, with sharks unwillingly cast as the main villain. With the summer season in high gear, let’s have a look at some of the best shark movies out there.

Under Paris

Here’s a one-word review for Under Paris, the recently added shark movie on Netflix: insane, bonkers, unhinged. And I’m saying that in a good way! It’s not as campy as the legendary “Sharknado” but the plot of this French-made film is completely nuts and even if I told you what happened you would never believe me. Warning: you need to suspend all belief and scientific knowledge to really enjoy this movie. The story goes like this: a marine researcher survives a devastating shark attack that kills all her friends, only for her to realise three years later that the shark responsible has somehow found her way up the Seine. Yes, the river that runs through Paris. How can the shark survive in the Seine? How did it track the researcher down? What is the shark’s plan for world domination (oh yeah, there is a plan)? Watch and find out!

Open Water

Where Under Paris is enjoyable as is a borderline parody of itself, Open Water is the polar opposite, going for the worst kind of horror: one that could actually happen. Actually, scratch that, it DID happen! Two amateur divers go on a dive at the Great Barrier Reef but when they come up they realise in horror that the boat that brought them there left them behind. And as things couldn’t get any worse, sharks began circling.

The movie is based on an actual event where a couple of divers were left stranded in the ocean. Open Water is tense, and horrifying and will make you whisper to yourself “This is only a movie” over and over again.

47 metres down

“Hey, do you want to go in a cage and dive with sharks?” is a question that should never, ever be asked. I don’t know why people do this but thousands every year do so here we are. It was inevitable that at some point, someone would ask the obvious question: well, what if something goes wrong?

In 47 metres down, that question is given an answer that is not a good one. Two sisters decide to go on a trip to Mexico and while there go cage-diving with sharks. The dreamy vacation though turns into a nightmare as the boat winch breaks and the sisters sink to the bottom of the ocean, 47 metres down. With oxygen running out the girls must find a way out of the cage and back to the surface.

And then the sharks came.


The OG of shark movies, the movie that gave a generation an irrational fear of the ocean and triggered the slaughter of sharks on a global scale. Also, cemented Steven Spielberg’s reputation as a blockbuster director. Based on a book by Peter Benchley, Jaws tells the story of a massive great white shark that pops up in the waters near a coastal town in the US. The town’s sheriff is sceptical in the beginning but is soon convinced that the shark is real and that it poses a threat to beach-goers. As the mayor stubbornly refuses to shut the town down to deal with the shark, the sheriff decides to head into open water to hunt the shark himself.


Shallows is a 2016 survival-horror film about Nancy, a young woman who decides to drop out of med school and instead go surfing at a secluded beach that her mother told her about. While there, you guessed it, she is attacked by a shark that forces her to seek refuge on a nearby buoy.

I know it’s a cliché but this film will have you on the edge of your seat! Blake Lively delivers an amazing performance and you cannot help but root for her as she struggles to survive. The film is fairly predictable although there are a couple of twists and turns you won’t see coming. Highly recommended, if you never want to go in the water again.