In the Interest of Poor Taste, Here Are 8 of the Funniest Shark Attacks in Movie History
Back in 1975, Steven Spielberg broke new ground with Jaws, crafting a horrifying movie villain out of that notorious ocean predator the shark and making the infamous tagline “you’ll never go in the water again” a reality for most everyone. Nearly 50 years later, we’ve had a slew of shark movies, including three Jaws sequels alone. Most play it straight, where we join a group of heroes on a deep sea diving expedition that goes awry or a surfer who finds herself stranded in the ocean with nothing but a surfboard to defend herself. But then there are the films that take the comedic route, undercutting the natural predator’s brute strength with absurd circumstances and heightened violence that is well beyond the realms of reality.
In honor of Shark Week, here are just a few of those hilarious (?) instances…
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
While not a shark attack movie, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues features a prominent shark attack in its penultimate scene. When Ron Burgundy sees his long lost shark friend Doby at the beach, he gives the animal a tender, albeit ill-advised, kiss on the nose that sparks the shark’s natural tendencies, forcing Burgundy’s dog Baxter to spring into action and save him. Mind you, there’s a wedding party of people watching all the absurdity unfold.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
A majority of this list is subverting the shark attack for comedic effect, but there will always be the unfortunate case of a thriller trying to bare its teeth and becoming a victim of unintentional humor. In the case of Deep Blue Sea, it’s a shoddily crafted CGI shark that jolts from the water and devours the corporate exec played by Samuel L. Jackson while he’s in the middle of an impassioned speech about how they need to escape. That poor man just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to animals disrupting his daily life.
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No (2015)
Sharknado, the farfetched made-for-TV disaster comedy, did the improbable and spawned a franchise thanks to the viral buzz after its 2013 release. Quite frankly, the scariest thing about the films isn’t even the Frankensteinian shark tornado — it’s Tara Reid’s acting. From interdimensional portals to time travel, any number of kill scenes from the franchise could go on our list. This one has shades of Final Destination 3, pays homage to the legacy and commodification of the original killer shark and even features a cameo from Jerry Springer.
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Another surprising shark attack came briefly in Back to the Future Part II when beloved Marty travels all the way to the incredibly futuristic year of 2015 and finds himself startled by a computer-generated shark being used to promote the fictitious Jaws 19. This one has commentary on everything: awful CGI, superfluous sequels and a surprisingly early indictment of nepotism for a film released well before the definitive guide “How a Nepo Baby Is Born” was published.
Finding Nemo (2003)
Even a family outing can have a shark attack, and Pixar’s groundbreaking entrant with the Great Barrier Reef as its backdrop wouldn’t be complete without one. Finding Nemo subverted expectations when Marlin and Dory encountered Bruce, a menacing great white, and his two goonies. Luckily for Marlin and Dory, the trio lives by the mantra “fish are friends, not food” and have sworn off eating fish. That is, until Dory experiences an unexpected nosebleed that sends Bruce into a feeding frenzy, causing our two unlikely heroes to swim away from danger.
The Meg (2018)
Short for “megalodon shark,” the extinct, big-tooth shark was reanimated opposite Jason Statham in 2018’s The Meg. The film features a landmark shark attack scene with unsuspected beach goers flailing in the water, fearing for their lives, and elevating it with a Speedo-clad bro in an inflatable walk-on-water ball that gets popped by the killer shark.
Piranha 3D (2010)
Although not technically a shark, the piranha is sorta like a cousin to it. Known for their predatory instincts and sharp teeth, the freshwater fish is the principal monster in Piranha 3D, the indelibly horny 2010 remake of the 1978 cult classic. The movie dared to go where no other has and used 3D technology in exciting and innovative ways — namely, by having little CGI piranhas chew off Jerry O'Connell’s penis, leaving the hefty unit to float in the lake.
Jaws 3-D (1983)
The Jaws sequels had a terribly difficult time living up to their Oscar-winning predecessor. In this particular installment, in which the filmmakers set out to release scathing commentary on SeaWorld and the exploitative nature of the marine park, they chose to make their statement with 3D for some reason. The very nature of the technology undercuts the entire film, especially considering 3D was ineffective in home-viewing, and rendered basically every single moment of its runtime comical.