1) You'll never go skinny-dipping at night again - Jaws (1975)
No list of the greatest shark attack scenes would be complete without Steven Spielberg's Jaws. The terrifying opening sequence sets the tone perfectly, as teenager Chrissie Watkins (Susan Backlinie) leaves a beach party and goes for a midnight skinny-dip in the ocean, only to be chomped, shaken violently and pulled around in the water before disappearing under the surface. Elevated into greatness by John Williams' iconic score, the sequence is all the more remarkable for the fact that you never actually see the shark, reportedly a decision forced on Spielberg by the fact that the robotic shark he'd planned to use wasn't working properly.
2) Shark eats Samuel L Jackson - Deep Blue Sea (1999)
What's more terrifying than a shark? A shark with genetically increased brain power, that's what. Renny Harlin's ridiculously enjoyable shark attack thriller has enormous fun with that premise as a group of “intelligent” sharks escape from a laboratory and chomp on everyone who gets in their way. The film's highlight – familiar now, but a terrific jump-out-of-your-seat shock to cinema audiences at the time – comes when one of the bitey monsters has the audacity to eat Samuel L. Jackson, just as he's in the middle of a rousing motivational speech about how everybody needs to work together to survive.
3) Shark in a supermarket! Shark in a car park! - Bait 3D (2012)
Kimble Rendall's 2012 Australian thriller commits so thoroughly to its shark-in-a-supermarket premise (the result of a tsunami, since you asked) that it even gives you a two-for-one deal, with an entire subplot featuring a second set of characters trapped in a shark-infested car park. There are plenty of suitably gory shark attack moments in Bait, but an early highlight occurs when the characters are all standing around on supermarket shelves, attempting to hoist store manager Jessup (Adrian Pang) to safety. Pro tip: if the script has you shouting “I can make it – I'm okay!”, you're not okay.
4) Shark vs Jet-ski - Shark Night 3D (2011)
A shark thriller with a particularly grisly twist (let's just say the sharks aren't the only things that co-stars Sara Paxton and Dustin Milligan have to worry about), David R. Ellis' horror sees a group of university students fending off shark attacks during a vacation at a private lake. There are a number of inventive attack sequences (such as a shark plucking a victim out of a tree), but the highlight involves a surprise confrontation between a shark and a jet-ski. Needless to say, don't try this at home.
5) Surrounded by sharks - Open Water (2003)
Shot documentary-style (which led to it being dubbed “The Blair Witch Project meets Jaws” on release), Chris Kentis' Open Water is terrifying for two reasons: 1) it's based on the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, a scuba-diving couple who were abandoned at sea by their boat after a head-count error, and 2) the production used real sharks, as opposed to digital or animatronic alternatives. The moment when the (presumably well-fed) sharks first appear is properly chilling, thanks to effective use of close-ups and the palpable fear in Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan's performances.
6) Shark vs landmark - Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009)
This cheapie creature feature from knock-off specialists The Asylum is utter nonsense from start to finsih, but it does boast a couple of enjoyably silly shark-related set-pieces. These include a) the giant shark (a megalodon, if you want to get scientific about it) leaping into the air and taking down a passenger jet, and b) the still peckish megalodon chowing down on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. This was very much a case of all the best bits being in the trailer, but when the best bits are this much fun, you can hardly blame them.
7) Shark on a rollercoaster - Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No (2015)
SyFy's popular Sharknado series (in which America is plagued by tornadoes filled with CGI sharks) seems to care more about product placement and multiple cameos from Z-list celebrities than it does about actual shark-related thrills, but it does occasionally throw up a fun moment or two. Perhaps the most enjoyable shark attack of the series comes in the third movie, where a shark gets trapped on a rollercoaster track and slides back and forth along the rails a number of times before eventually landing on, and eating, WWE wrestler Chris Jericho.
8) Shark vs Banana Boat - Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
If the original Jaws is one of the best shark films ever made, the same cannot be said of its third sequel, Jaws: The Revenge, which features a great white apparently pursuing a vendetta against the unlucky-near-water Brody family, despite the fact that all the sharks were killed in the previous three movies. Ridiculous plot aside, the film does at least have one great set-piece, in which the shark targets Chief Brody's grand-daughter Thea (Judith Barsi) and attacks her on an inflatable banana boat, only to miss and end up eating Thea's friend's mother instead. You'll never go on an inflatable banana boat again.
9) Shark vs Batman - Batman: The Movie (1966)
In the big-screen version of the enjoyably campy Batman TV series, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) are attempting a rescue mission in the bat-copter when Batman suddenly finds himself attacked by a rubbery-looking shark as he's dangling off a rope. Fortunately, the bat-copter is equipped with Shark Repellent Spray, though it takes Robin a hilariously long time to shimmy down the rope and hand Batman the cannister. If only today's Batman movies were this much fun.
From Jaws to Jurassic Shark, watch the greatest shark films of all time in the Shark Attack! Collection on Virgin Movies. To watch on your Virgin Media set top box, press Home on your remote, then On Demand > Movies.
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