Lauren: When it comes to shark films, it’s a no-brainer for all the cool film critic kids to put Jaws at the top of their lists. It’s a classic for a reason. But that classic put me to sleep the two times I tried to watch it. So no, Jaws isn’t my favorite shark attack film, Deep Blue Sea is. It’s silly, it’s campy, but boy is it fun. Which is why I was overjoyed to see one of my favorite horror films (see MoR’s Top Horror Films list here) finally getting a much deserved sequel two decades later.
Ben: I was also pretty jazzed when I heard Syfy was making a sequel to Deep Blue Sea, which is one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure flicks. The 1999 film manages quite the balancing act between fun and scary, while getting just the right amount of seriousness and self-awareness in there too. Unfortunately, Deep Blue Sea 2 doesn’t live up to what I was hoping for. It isn’t completely terrible, but it isn’t anywhere near as entertaining as its predecessor.
Lauren: Just add a shrug to that last sentence and that’s basically my reaction. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not good? I enjoyed certain parts of the movie? But unfortunately Deep Blue Sea it is not. It’s sure got the stupid, but it’s not the type of stupid that you just smile and shake your head at with an “oh you” sigh because the fun just isn’t enough to make it forgivable. It’s the type of stupid that makes you question the writers and filmmakers during the unwanted lulls between shark attacks. In those action beats my eyes lit up with gore induced glee, only for that light to then be extinguished when the focus returned to the characters, none of which are likable, really. This film needed the charisma of LL Cool J or Samuel L. Jackson, it needed an empathetic scientist who did the wrong thing for the right reasons, and it needed more sharks.
Spoiler Warning From Here On Out!
Ben: It’s so weird because there are a couple pretty brilliant bits of filmmaking scattered throughout Deep Blue Sea 2, but they’re surrounded by so many stupid ones. For example, I loved how DBS2’s setting was so similar to the original’s, but never felt like a rehash of it. It was a loving homage to the aquatic research center where Thomas Jane and LL Cool J would eventually join forces and kill a giant Mako, and seeing that made me smile.
However, any smile I’d have would quickly disappear whenever any of the characters spoke. I went from enjoying the scenery or the superfish to hearing gems like “I’ve been swimming with sharks since I was 7 years old. I know a knocked-up shark when I see one,” and “I had commanders like you in the military! Soldiers were just pieces of chess on a chessboard!”
Really? C’mon, man…
Lauren: The writing really is bad, although I will give the movie credit for the one bit of dialog where the Thomas Jane knockoff says what we’re all thinking with: “Ok if you two don’t stop arguing I’m going to feed myself to the sharks.” That gave me a good laugh because I was right there with him stuck between a man who literally believes using sharks to help create intelligence increasing drugs will stave off the robot apocalypse (conspiracy theory: those flashes of chemical formulas that changed to something like computer data with the more smart drugs he downed was a sign he was actually turning into a robot) and a woman who is the embodiment of what women-hating men think of when they picture a feminist. Everything she says is so abrasive as she shouts it into the face of whoever is unlucky enough to force her obstinance, and even when what she’s saying is right and exactly what I was thinking, it was just so annoying. Just get eaten already, lady! Go pick one of the few confusingly colorfully lit hallways, wait for the questionably bubbling water filling with shrieking baby sharks and get eaten!
Side note: the baby sharks are one of the so dumb it’s genius reveals in this movie, until we actually see them. Until they take the place of the four other full grown sharks that are MIA for the rest of the film. Seriously, what happened to the other sharks!?
Ben: And even if the baby sharks didn’t look terrible/hilarious, they shouldn’t have been the most prevalent danger through the movie. The adult sharks were sidelined for most of the movie! What the heck?! They kept building up how smart and dangerous Bella was (still not sure how she could hear or understand Durant’s plot to eventually kill her), but she barely did anything. I did enjoy her biting off that one guy’s head though.
Speaking of which, I actually enjoyed most of the deaths. They were the briefest flashes of the dumb fun DBS2 could’ve been full of. Unfortunately, we got a bunch of hammy exposition from Miss Know-It-All, a John Connor wannabe, and the cliche ex-soldier from most bad sci-fi flicks. I would’ve been okay with DBS2 being just another corny Syfy original, but the dumb/fun ratio is too far out of whack.
Lauren: The moon pool decapitation, the ladder disembowelment, and the satisfying teeth extension into the masta’s belly were such great shocks of gore, such standout moments in a film that mostly put as much effort into succeeding at being an entertaining movie as one of the newlywed characters did to escape her death. Let’s just say that she looking more like she was participating in a relaxing water aerobics class, as opposed to frantically fighting to get away from her ravenous pursuers. And that just isn’t good enough.
Liked our co-review? Well there’s plenty more where that came from! You can find us on Twitter @TheGrigsbyBear and @BewareOfTrees, or you can find more of our reviews for video games, films and books by clicking on our names: Ben and Lauren. Lastly, don’t forget to check out our Middle of The Row Podcast too! Till next time, remember: The best seats are in The Middle of The Row.