1999’s Deep Blue Sea was a daft addition to the shark horror genre, but damn, it’s still a fun ride. Who can forget that shock-chomping of Samuel L Jackson? Or that bit when sharks managed to use Stellan Skarsgård strapped to a stretcher as a battering ram? Or when they tried to gas LL Cool J in his own oven, right after eating his bird? As TK put it, this was a classic hangover movie, and it took the shark horror up a notch, from just the regular great whites with an appetite for human flesh to super-smart thinking (and killing) machines, fighting for freedom (and lunch) in an epic battle against scientists. It’s what I would call ‘Shark Plus’ horror, really.
‘Shark Plus’ is what gave us the Mega-shark movies, and the Sharknado series. ‘Normal’ sharks on their own are still fodder for plenty of movies, like The Shallows and 47 Meters Down, but ‘Shark Plus’ gives space for writers to go bananas. Sharks, but prehistoric and huge, and battling a giant octopus. Sharks, but flying around in tornadoes. Sharks, but with laser-beams on their heads. (OK, maybe that last one doesn’t count.)
Enter Deep Blue Sea 2.
Oh boy. Is it really a sequel? Because it sure looks like a re-make… Let’s break it down: we have dubious science that relies on the sharks getting huge brains that turn them into evil geniuses. Aquatica 2.0 looks like it’s going the way of the first one. They’ve even got a guy who looks like he’s about the get his arm chewed off. DON’T STICK YOUR ARM IN ITS MOUTH, DUMB DUMB!
You know who I feel sorry for? Whoever was tasked with writing the risk assessments for this underwater death-trap. You can just picture the poor chump, dutifully adding a procedure for what to do when the sharks turn on the humans and try to kill them all, only for the board to laugh off the concerns, like ‘Lol, Sam, that will NEVER happen.’
And Sam says, ‘But it literally happened the other time! Only the chef and the shark-whisperer dude got away!’
Board: ‘But that was mako sharks and Alzheimer’s research. This is totally different. We’re using bull sharks, and developing (what was it? Oh yeah) intelligence enhancers that can actually alter the genetic structure of the brain!’
Sam: ‘First of all, bull sharks aren’t exactly cuddly. They’re, like, really aggressive. And second of all, what the balls does that science even mean? Pretty sure that’s not a thing, and that there’s no way we should be messing with it if it was.’
Board: ‘But the guy with the sexy voice says that they are learning to learn, and that they like it!’
Sam: ‘How very meta. Do they like it like it? Because this is sounding even weirder…’
Board: ‘It’s OK, sexy-voice billionaire dude made a remote control! These sharks move in formation — it’s awesome!’
Sam: ‘They are working as a pack, that’s probably not a good sign. Plus, what if that remote thing breaks, or the batteries run out or something!’
Board: ‘Come on, Sam, stop being a buzzkill! If this sciencey intelligence-enhancing doodah works on the sharks, it will totally work on people (because we’re so similar) and then we can be smarter than machines! We can all be gods!’
Sam: ‘Oh, come on! You did NOT just say that?! Now they are definitely all going to die. Apart from maybe two of them.’
But they ignore him, again, and so Sam goes out for consolation drinks with his counterpart at InGen, because he’s the only one who understands…
Deep Blue Sea 2 is going straight to Blu-ray and DVD, and is out in July 2018. TK has vowed to, and I quote, “drunk-review the ass off it”.