700 user 193 critic

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

2:21 | Trailer
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.


Renny Harlin
1,233 ( 1,076)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Jane ... Carter Blake
Saffron Burrows ... Dr. Susan McAlester
Samuel L. Jackson ... Russell Franklin
Jacqueline McKenzie ... Janice Higgins
Michael Rapaport ... Tom Scoggins
Stellan Skarsgård ... Jim Whitlock
LL Cool J ... Preacher
Aida Turturro ... Brenda Kerns
Cristos ... Boat Captain
Daniel Rey Daniel Rey ... Helicopter Pilot (as Daniel Bahimo Rey)
Valente Rodriguez ... Helicopter Co-Pilot
Brent Roam ... Helicopter Winch Operator
Eyal Podell ... Boy #1
Erinn Bartlett ... Girl #1
Dan Thiel ... Boy #2


A businessman sinks $200 million into a special project to help fight Alzheimer's disease. As part of this project, medical biologist Susan McAlester rather naughtily figures out a way to genetically enlarge shark brains, so that disease-battling enzymes can be harvested. However, the shark subjects become super smart and decide they don't much like being cooped up in pens and being stabbed with hypodermics, so they figure a way to break out and make for the open sea... Written by John Smith <John.Smith7@net.ntl.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How fast can you swim? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic shark attacks, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The filmmakers watched videos of real Makos swimming frame by frame then borrowed equipment and technology that's typically used in Boeing 747s and built the sharks as self-contained units. The remote controlled machines had one thousand horsepower engines, weighed eight thousand pounds, and swam on their own without the use of external wires or apparatus, up to thirty miles per hour. They built four and a half sharks: three fifteen-foot Makos, which played the first gen sharks; and one and a half generation-two sharks, which represented that first generations twenty-six-foot-long progeny, the effect was quite realistic: Stellan Skarsgård remarked "The first time I saw one of those animatronic sharks I thought it was a real one." Samuel L. Jackson recalled "when they first brought the animatronic shark into the lab we were all in awe of the size of this machine. It was a real monster. I would walk up to it slowly and touch it, and they said it felt like a real shark. The gills moved and it had a mind of its own sometimes." Renny Harlin recounted "one shark was sitting in McAlester's room, and just as we were getting the computer programming finished, all of a sudden it leapt up and went through the ceiling. All these 2x4s flying away like matchsticks. It gave us an idea of the awesome power of these creatures and how careful we had to be in terms of the cast and crew being close to them, and how the computer program had to have failsafe procedures so nobody got hurt." See more »


The "tiger shark" near the beginning of the movie is not shaped like a real tiger shark even though the movie shark has similar markings on it's back. A *real* Tiger shark has a blunt rounded nose, and jagged odd shaped teeth. The Tiger sharks in the movie are re-dressed Mako sharks. See more »


Preacher: [talking to shark] You ate my bird!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning of the film, both the Warner Bros. shield and the Village Roadshow logo are depicted as being underwater. See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD includes deleted scenes which feature more character development and extra dialogue. See more »


Referenced in Hagan Reviews: Exorcist: The Beginning (2012) See more »


Deepest Bluest (Shark's Fin)
Written by LL Cool J (as James Todd Smith), Timothy 'China Black' Hom (as Timothy Hom) and Ralph Roundtree
Produced by Timothy 'China Black' Hom and Ralph Roundtree
Co-Produced by Trevor Rabin
Performed by LL Cool J
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
See more »

User Reviews

The only decent shark film since the original Jaws.
30 March 2015 | by drawlifeSee all my reviews

The problem with shark films is that, once you hear about it, people immediately think of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece Jaws. So how do you approach a shark film without repeating Jaws? The answer is Deep Blue Sea.

Researchers and scientists harvest brain fluids from sharks for a cure for Alzheimer's disease, but unknown to the other scientists, Dr. Susan McAlester(Saffron Burrows) and Dr. Jim Whitlock(Stellan Skarsgard) violated the code of ethics and genetically engineered the sharks to increase their brain size, with the side effect of the sharks getting smarter and bigger.

In a genre full of clichés, this film at least keeps you guessing here and there. What director Renny Harlin establishes is that anyone can die, the whole cast is expendable, and ultimately fodder. However, in doing so he at least allows you to get to know the characters before they're shark food, some more than others. One can understand why Dr. McAlester is so driven for a cure, but ultimately it's all her fault for the events that take place in the film. Thomas Jane is good in the role Carter Blake, who is a shark wrangler. He also somehow magically dodges every shark that comes towards him and rides on their fins like Aquaman. Almost unrealistic, but the movie is so fun you just kinda go along with it and Jane handles the actions scenes quite well. Plus he holds his breath under water like no human can which can be impressive, but again a bit of a stretch. LL Cool J and Michael Rapaport provide sharp wisecracks and provide the film's humor. Samuel L. Jackson also has a decent supporting role as Russell Frankin, the research team's financial backer.

The shark deaths are brutal and unforgiving and may make some uneasy. The problem with this film is that, although the shark attacks are effective, it tries a lot to make you uncomfortable and it becomes too one-noted. Of course in a film like this it's expected. The whole time you have no idea who is going to die next, and those sharks are relentless and a lot more vicious. Director Renny Harlin effectively uses the timing, suspense and the element of surprise so kudos to him. The shark puppets look great, but the same cannot be said for the cgi shark effects, it's dated and doesn't hold up.

Deep Blue Sea is pure popcorn entertainment. The film doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table, but again it keeps you guessing and at times it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's an effective shark film, and it tires to be a good film. That's something I can appreciate.


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 700 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »


Official Sites:

Official site


USA | Mexico


English | Spanish

Release Date:

28 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deep Blue Sea See more »


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,107,643, 1 August 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Everything That's New on Netflix in December

No need to waste time endlessly browsing—here's the entire lineup of new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix this month.

See the full list

Recently Viewed