710 user 197 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
2,140 ( 37)
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?


There wasn't a huge budget for the movie, and director Renny Harlin stated in the DVD commentary, "There was lots of discussion about should we have the parrot, should we not have the parrot, so we opted to have the bird, but we couldn't afford a Hollywood parrot, a parrot that is fully trained and comes with its professional trainers and does tricks and speaks on cue and so on. So we decided to go with a parrot from Mexico City". The production actually used two parrots one that was good at flying and one that was adept at sitting on LL Cool J's shoulder. See more »


Towards the end when the three remaining survivors try to get to the surface by escaping through the water filled shaft, when they are coming out of the shaft door, a crew members legs and red swim shorts are clearly visible and in fact at one point block the entire shot. The three survivors at that point all had long bottoms and none of them were red. See more »


Janice Higgins: Beneath this glassy surface, a world of gliding monsters!
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Crazy Credits

Members of the shark effects team have shark-related nicknames, for example, Peter 'GreatWhite' Smith. See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER:In a test screening one month before the film's opening, the ending had Susan (Saffron Burrows) escaping the shark at the end and saving the day with the spear gun. Audiences booed that ending, and sure enough, it came out with Susan getting eaten and Preacher (LL Cool J) saving the day. You can actually tell that some of the final shots were three-shots, with empty space where Burrows would have been. Sometimes Thomas Jane's eye-line looks like it should go to her. She's been digitally erased. See more »


Referenced in Honest Trailers: Deadpool 2 (2018) See more »


Good and Plenty
Written by Joleen Belle and Alan Molezion
Produced by Robert Palmer
Performed by Divine
Courtesy of Pendulum Records/Red Ant LLC
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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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