The Six Scariest Shark Moments in Horror

What’s summer without shark horror?

The official sequel to Andrew Traucki’s The ReefThe Reef: Stalked is now available on Digital/VOD and streaming on Shudder.

Written and directed by Andrew Traucki (Black Water) as a follow-up to his 2010 film, The Reef: Stalked stars Teressa Liane (“The Vampire Diaries”), Ann Truong (“Cowboy Bebop”), Saskia Archer (Boshack), Kate Lister (“Clickbait”) and Tim Ross (“Wonderland”).

In the sequel: “Nic, in an effort to heal after witnessing her sister’s horrific murder, travels to a tropical resort with her friends for a kayaking and diving adventure. Only hours into their expedition, the women are stalked and attacked by a great white shark. To survive, they will need to band together, and Nic will have to overcome her post-traumatic stress, face her fears and slay the monster.”

The appetite for shark horror is insatiable, and it’s not difficult to understand why. A compelling shark movie can be utterly terrifying. Sharks are apex predators at home in their element, whereas humans are not. It makes evading and surviving so much trickier. To demonstrate why we love shark horror, we look back at six of the most terrifying shark moments in horror.

The Reef – Underwater Scare

Writer/Director Andrew Traucki’s minimalist approach and use of actual shark footage culminated in an intense shark feature full of scares. One of the most significant moments comes after the group’s made their long swim in open water after their boat gets capsized. Luke (Damian Walshe-Howling) dips his head below the surface in search of oncoming predators, only to be met with a charging shark, mouth wide. It’s a potent jump scare that makes you glad to be on dry land.

Open Water – Feeding Frenzy

Daniel and Susan get stranded at sea thanks to a scuba diving excursion miscount. Drifting without food or water amidst various aquatic encounters would sufficiently sell the survival horror, but Open Water also sees the pair consistently circled by sharks. The most unnerving scene comes when Susan’s alone, after Daniel’s injuries cause the sharks to descend and take him. Open Water sees Susan treading water, with fins circling nearby. It’s intercut with a peek below the surface, showing the sharks gathering in a frenzy. That Susan’s response is to accept her fate quietly elicits chills.

Deep Blue Sea – Poor Jim

Renny Harlin goes big with this Blockbuster-sized shark attack movie and sets the tone early with this over-the-top, brutal death. The inciting event comes when Dr. Jim Whitlock (Stellan Skarsgård), one of those responsible for genetically altering the sharks’ intelligence, gets his arm severed by one of the sharks. Attempts to medically evacuate him during a storm create a series of catastrophes, resulting in multiple deaths once the helicopter crashes into the aquatic research station. Through it all, poor Jim gets dragged from the airlift to the ocean below by one of his sharks. The survivors watch helplessly in horror as they witness the shark carrying him in his maw and then used as a tool to shatter the facility’s glass. It’s one lengthy, drawn-out way to die.

The Shallows – Jellyfish Gauntlet

Jaume Collet-Serra injects nail-biting suspense throughout this shark attack movie, creating numerous memorable sequences. Arguably the most notable of all comes with the prolonged sequence that sees Blake Lively’s Nancy forced off the safety of a rock thanks to the rising tide. Nancy’s closest source of protection from the stalking shark is a buoy in the distance, creating a harrowing chase through jellyfish-infested waters.

47 Meters Down – A Flare in the Dark

Sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) are on vacation in Mexico when a shark diving excursion presents a chance for the reserved Lisa to prove she can be impulsive after all. It goes awry when the cage’s cable snaps and traps the sisters in the ocean’s depths with prowling sharks. The movie’s most terrifying moment comes when the sisters finally make their slow ascent through the pitch-black waters, lighting their way to the surface with a flare. When that flare goes out, palpable tension mounts as they struggle to light another. When the flare finally strikes, it gives way to the biggest scare in the entire movie.

Jaws – Silent Killer

Steven Spielberg established that less is more when it comes to the most chilling moments. Never is that more evident in the film than over the Fourth of July weekend. A packed beach full of revelry turns to horror when the shark swims into the area and overturns a few boats, including one with Brody’s son, Michael. Putting Michael in peril creates taut tension, and Spielberg capitalizes on it by framing the scene overhead as the boater resurfaces to reach for his boat. The viewer can see what the swimmer can’t; the shark is closing in for the kill. He’s quietly dragged under, with Michael petrified as he watches it happen. Finally, the boater’s screams alert the beachgoers as he’s being eaten. Cut to his severed leg drifting down to the bottom of the sea.

The Reef: Stalked is available now on Digital/VOD and Shudder.

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