Retro-Review: DEEP BLUE SEA (1999)

1999 was a good year for movies, Fight Club, The Matrix, The Green Mile, Eyes Wide Shut, to name a few. Another classic from that era was Deep Blue Sea, one of the better shark movies out there. After talking about sharks on the Livestream, I sat down for an overdue rewatch it last night. Here is my review.

Deep Blue Sea has a great cast, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgard, LL Cool J, and Aida Turturro. It’s directed by Renny Harlin and written by Duncan Kennedy, Donna and Wayne Powers.

Harlin was a staple of the summer blockbuster during the 1980s-90s. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, Cutthroat Island, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Deep Blue Sea. Not sure they are quality movies, but they are fun movies. Pure entertainment.

The Story

The story of Deep Blue Sea is simple:

Searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease, a group of scientists on an isolated research facility become the prey, as a trio of intelligent sharks fight back.

A typical “man playing God” move that gets out of hand. Russell Franklin, played by Jackson, is investing money into research to hopefully cure Alzheimer’s. Sharks do not get the disease, so they hold the key to the cure.

At the research facility, Dr Susan McAlester (Burrows), has been experimenting on sharks and increasing their brain size, to extract more enzymes. The problem is that the sharks have become more intelligent and they don’t like having their brains poked around with.


A huge storm hits the facility and all hell breaks loose as the sharks escape and start to pick off the crew, one by one.

Silly, But Fun

The story goes beyond stupid. There are moments where the sharks seem to have read the full schematics of the facility and know where to cut the power, where to destroy the cameras, and where every hiding place is.

You cannot overthink Deep Blue Sea, which is fine as you don’t have to. It’s a shark movie with intelligent sharks. Not clever sharks like in Jaws 4: The Revenge where it can track down a family on holiday. These sharks are very, very clever.

What was refreshing about Deep Blue Sea is that a lot of the main cast die. This was such a great way to make a movie since you don’t know who’s going to make it to the end. In most movies of this type, with a good cast, you figure one or two might die, but everyone else will be OK. This isn’t the case here.

Harlin tells a good story and lets you have fun watching it. As I said, you can’t overthink the movie, you’re going to damn well have fun.


Deep Blue Sea is pure entertainment, from the great surprise kills to the talking parrot keeping LL Cool J company. It’s exactly what you expect, and it delivers.

Being made in 1999, it does suffer a little from the CGI special effects. Here and there you really notice how bad they are, but again, you can overlook them since you’re just enjoying yourself. The rest of the animatronic effects are excellent.


If you haven’t seen Deep Blue Sea, you should. If you have, it’s worth a revisit. I’m giving it a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Out of interest, in case you missed it, there is a director’s cut out there, which sounds really interesting.

And no, I will not be watching the sequels, I have heard they are terrible.


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