So, the long-anticipated giant shark movie The Meg has finally hit theaters. And you’ve seen it! You’ve seen Jason Statham fight that gargantuan beast! Now what? Whatever could fill the void of no more The Meg? Certainly you’re craving more movie monster mayhem. From sharks to alligators to snakes (oh my!), here are 10 creature features to keep you cravers satisfied.
‘Deep Blue Sea’
Perhaps one of the better-known shark movies out there, the fun premise of this deep sea nightmare has scientists using sharks to research a cure for Alzheimer’s to only then have the now hyper-intelligent sharks fight back. It’s B-movie, pure popcorn entertainment junk at the highest level. And if you dare, a straight-to-video sequel came out earlier this year!
The creature classic from 1990 starring Kevin Bacon is maybe the only actually good movie on this list (oops!). A clever twist on the genre, instead of something lurking in the water, it’s something lurking in the ground below as monsters begin picking off the citizens of a small town one by one. This is one of the rare horror/comedy hybrids that succeeds in avoiding the temptation to ever take itself too seriously.
Blake Lively basically punches a shark in the face. That’s it, that’s the selling point. She also befriends a seagull named Steven Seagull, a la Winston the volleyball in Castaway, who turns out to be a very effective co-star. But in all seriousness, this open water thriller from director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, The Commuter) is an affecting survival tale striking a perfect balance between harrowing and ridiculous.
’47 Meters Down’
Taking a page from the ol’ Shallows book, here comes Mandy Moore and Claire Holt trapped underwater in a shark cage. It delivers on the spills and thrills you’d expect from a premise such as this, and while it’s not as memorable as the selection above, it still gets the job done. And clearly director Johannes Roberts found some success here, because get ready for the sequel 48 Meters Down coming in 2019. Unfortunately there won’t be sharks or Mandy Moore.
‘Megashark vs. Giant Octopus’
Megashark vs. Giant Octopus walked so Sharknado could run. Before the SyFy phenomenon came around in 2013, there was this so bad it’s good, but also maybe so bad it’s absolutely terrible, masterpiece(?) from 2009. Put it in the category of Birdemic in terms of pure shlock that’s somehow watchable and hilarious. There’s a scene where the titular Megashark jumps out of the ocean into the sky and takes down a commercial airliner.
‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’
Among the many Sharknado installments, this is the best one because the premise isn’t old yet, and Ian Ziering jumps into a flying shark’s open mouth with a chainsaw and CHAINSAWS THROUGH HIM. The first one is great, but this is when the actors, most notably Tara Reid, really leans into the high camp of it all.
‘Jaws: The Revenge’
The final Jaws sequel is on this list simply because of how preposterous it is, and it’s nabbed itself a place in history simply for that reason. Just take a look at that tagline: “This time it’s personal.” The titular shark seeks revenge once and for all, and through the proceedings, it even roars like a lion. You read that right. To this day Michael Caine has not seen the film, and he has famously said only took the gig to buy himself a new home. You do what you gotta do!
Ah yes, the giant alligator movie. As a total send-up of the monster horror/comedy, it takes all the usual tropes of the genre and spins them on their head. A massive man-eating alligator terrorizes the fictional location of Black Lake, Maine, and a highly dysfunctional cast of characters is forced to try and destroy the creature before it kills them all. While it never fully succeeds and more often than not falls into the category of trash, there are some certainly clever moments throughout.
This 2002 send-up has the monster movie genre down to a science in the way it perfectly balances itself being both a sharp parody and loving homage. The giant scuttling spiders filling the frame, wreaking havoc and terror across land instead of sea, it might very well be the best movie of its kind since Tremors.
While panned upon its release, this one gained respect and a cult following in the years to come. The critic who did get it at the time, though? The one and only Roger Ebert, whose glowing review gave it 3.5 stars out of 4. The movie is surprisingly slick, sexy and scary with an exotic location and a legitimately thrilling story. And of course you can’t go wrong with Jennifer Lopez.
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