I have a small confession to make. I’ve seen “Deep Blue Sea 3” already. I might own it. But we’re going to talk about it, because it deserves it.
“Deep Blue Sea” (1999!!!) is probably one of the best shark movies to date. It’s got really great scares and while there are some deaths I may not agree with /coughcoughtheendcoughcough it’s ultimately a really fun creature feature.
“Deep Blue Sea 2” (2018) is a trash fire. It goes classic horror sequel and moves into a more claustrophobic space. The shark effects are terrible, and I can’t remember much about it other than it has my least-favorite shark movie trope…roaring sharks. No thanks. So when I heard that there was a third Deep Blue, twenty-ish years later, I was…skeptical. The prevailing buzz, however, was positive. So I buckled up and dove in. What else am I even doing in quarantine??
Guys, this movie is stupid fun.
Honestly, the reason “Deep Blue Sea 3” excels where its predecessor fails is because it sticks to the original formula. The location is still a floating island, this time a floating community (an abandoned fishing village in Mozambique) turned lab research. Featuring intrepid scientist Emma (Tania Raymonde, from “Lost” and “Malcolm In the Middle”), who manages to use a GoPro in a convincing manner, projecting her dives and her research out to the world. The premise is simple, they don’t overcomplicate things. She tells the audience what’s happening because, well, we are also the audience. No extra frippery. Really the only extra thing is “Deep Blue Sea 3” cares about the environment and global warming and subsequently includes it in the narrative. (It’s maybe worth noting that “Deep Blue Sea 3” is a direct sequel to “2”, these are the same sharks in that movie)
Are the sharks digital? Mostly yes. That being said, digital sharks have come a really long way and they’re pretty clean looking for the most part. The effect doesn’t hold up to the face-on shots though. I would bet there are some stand-ins a la “Shark Night” that really helps seal the deal.
Dr. Emma Collins is sort of a no-nonsense character with a smidgen of arrogance, a la Carter Blake from the first film. She’s a good leader, if a little brash. Her ex boyfriend (Richard/Ritchie) is a bit more…naive? but when he shows up looking for some special bullsharks with a large boat and a team funded by Big Pharma, Emma is understandably skeptical. Ultimately she has to help, because the bulls are killing the Great Whites she’s been studying. It’s eventually revealed that these sharks (the bullsharks) are, as per Deep Blue lore, very very smart. They miss their mom, they recognize weapons, they strategize, that level of smart.
“Deep Blue Sea 3” is actually really great at setting up moments of tension. This one is not directed by Remy Marlin but John Pogue. The only other movie I’ve seen of his is “The Quiet Ones” , which I think is actually fairly consistent with what’s happening in “Deep Blue Sea 3”. There’s a lot of ‘oh this is definitely a shark’ but then isn’t not a shark. They don’t rely on jump-scares, which is nice. That being said, I think they rely a little too much on red herrings (pun…intended?). There are a few things that don’t payoff and it’s disappointing. We don’t, for example, get a bullshark v. great white fight, but maybe I’ve been watching too much SyFy.
Ultimately, it’s really just a fun shark romp. There’s good action sequences, satisfying shark attacks, decent tension, and an end-fight to beat the band. It’s got some tragic deaths too, but the end is a reversal of the first film which I kind of liked.
It turns out there’s another Friday in October, so I’m going to try and figure out what to watch, suggestions are welcome.