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Film / Deep Blue Sea

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"So here's the riddle. What does an 8,000-pound mako shark with a brain the size of a flathead V8 engine and no natural predators think about?"

Deep Blue Sea is a killer shark action/horror film from 1999, directed by Renny Harlin.

Dr. Susan McCallister, her team of scientists, and shark wrangler Carter Blake are researching a cure for Alzheimer's in a refurbished WWII Submarine refueling platform, using sharks to grow a protein that reactivates dead human neurons. However, the sharks' brains were too small, and the amounts of protein harvested were so small as to make the efforts unviable, so they use genetic engineering to give them larger brains. They kept the sharks corralled in an unbreakable mesh cage submerged in the ocean along with their labs. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

After one of the sharks escapes and causes a PR fiasco, Russell Franklin, the CEO of the company funding their research, comes in to inspect their progress and see if they should be funded or shut down. Of course something Goes Horribly Wrong.

Characters include:

Not to be confused with The Deep Blue Sea, which is a 2011 romantic drama film.

A sequel/remake, Deep Blue Sea 2, came out in 2018. A second sequel, Deep Blue Sea 3 was released in 2020.

The movie has the following tropes.

  • All for Nothing:
    • Susan made illegal modifications to the sharks, inadvertently making her responsible for all the subsequent deaths when the super-intelligent sharks break out, but she did it to find a cure for degenerative diseases and even uses this as a defense of her actions when given a What the Hell, Hero? speech. However, the cure is later destroyed when she is forced to electrocute one of the sharks as it attacks her along with the substance they extracted from their brains, making those sacrifices ultimately pointless.
    • Amazingly, the same applies to the sharks. The entire film they've been working on a plan to herd around the humans and flood the facility so they can escape. After two of the sharks are already dead, the last one actually manages to break through the fence, only to be blown up five seconds later by a stick of gunpowder fired into her back.
  • And This Is for...: Preacher has two of those, "You ate my bird!" before lighting up a shark in the kitchen, and "This for Scoggins" before firing a harpoon into the one Carter is riding.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In a Blink-and-You-Miss-It moment, Janice tells Dr. Jim Whitlock that she loves him as he's heli-lifted off the station for medical treatment. It turns out to be the last thing she ever says to him.
  • Anyone Can Die: Literally moments after establishing himself as the leader of the group with an amazing speech, Samuel L. Jackson's character gets sharked to pieces. And despite the usual male and female love interest making it to the end, Susan McCallister cuts her arm and jumps into the water to distract the shark. You can't help thinking she's going to be alright, right before she's chomped, torn in two and swallowed. R.I.P. Sacrificial Lion.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Preacher films himself with a camera in order to leave some form of witness in case no one would make it. He also suggest the ingredients for a perfect homelette. Ironically he will be the only survivor along with Carter.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Whether that white dessert topping was whipped cream, marshmallow or frosting, Preacher really shouldn't have been letting his parrot have a taste of it: while they wouldn't kill it, all-of-the-above would give it an upset stomach and/or a case of the runs.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: The movie makes a big deal on how a titanium fence can keep a shark away but a steel one won't. In real life, while titanium is more flexible than steel, steel is stronger than titanium. Steel fences are used in real life to deal with sharks, both metals work if built thick and strong enough.
    • However titanium is more resistant to water corrosion, and it has more give, meaning it would wrap around the shark rather than snapping.
  • Artistic License – Marine Biology: Where to begin?
    • Contrary to popular belief, sharks do get cancer and other degenerative diseases, so the entire justification for working on sharks doesn't work.
    • The sharks are explicitly said to be shortfin makos, but aside from their relatively thin frame and jagged teeth, they look much more like great whites. Granted, this can be handwaved because the Sharks are genetically engineered.
    • Apparently, this protein they are trying to extract from the sharks occurs in a giant bubble in the shark's head, and doesn't require any purification once extracted. Who says biology is messy?
    • What Alzheimer's disease does to brain tissue isn't just deactivating neurons. Massive plaques of material form in the brain and crowd out healthy cells. The protein, as described, wouldn't actually help.
    • In one early scene, a captured shark (an ordinary one, not one of the super-makos) is being lowered, in a harness, into a pen. The shark seems remarkably calm and comfortable, despite the fact that, being out of water, it should not have been able to breathe.
    • The movie implies that swimming backwards is a maneuver the sharks figured out once they got smarter. Sharks don't swim backwards because they can't. They're built like airplanes; it's physically impossible for them to do it. Strangely, this is lampshaded in the film itself, as Janice says "Sharks do not swim backward — they can't!" How genetically-increased brain mass overcame this physiological engineering problem, however, is not addressed.
    • The shark that is fed to the makos is established as a tiger shark. While the coloring is right, it has a pointed snout like a great white, instead of the flat, round snout real tiger sharks have.
    • Mako sharks can jump 30 ft. in the air, so the fences in the movie would have no chance to contain them if they really wanted out.
    • The sharks all seem to possess remarkably smooth skin not unlike dolphins. In one scene, Carter is seen rubbing the backside of a shark, back and forth without repercussions. Sharks actually have denticles or placoid scales, and these structures are shaped like curved, grooved teeth. For all intents and purposes, the texture is not unlike sandpaper. Carter would have essentially sliced his hand open at worst, scraped it at best by rubbing the shark barehanded in a motion going up from the tail and to head. There's a reason divers wear gloves when they expect to come into contact with sharks.
    • The film makes a big deal about how unusual it is that the mutant sharks would eat the Tiger shark. This ignores that cannibalism is very normal for sharks, and it wasn't even the same breed as the mutated ones.
  • As the Good Book Says...: That's why they call him "Preacher". He's a devout Christian who regularly quotes from the Bible, although close to the end he humorously corrupts a verse as part of his Rousing Speech.
  • As You Know: It had to be brought up so that scientists could claim they hadn't. Even more awkward because it's Samuel L. Jackson talking science.
    Russel Franklin: I'm just amazed we've come so far so fast without genetic tampering.
    Janice: Genetic engineering to increase brain mass is against the Harvard Genetics Compact and Chimera Policy.
  • Badass Preacher: Preacher, who kills TWO out of the three sharks.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Preacher finds a camcorder and starts to record a message, acknowledging his failures in life before choosing to leave something behind: the recipe for the perfect omelette.
  • Batman Gambit: By the sharks, whose pursuit of the humans is actually a ploy to get them to flood the floating station, so it'll sink low enough for the super-makos to escape into the ocean.
  • Big Bad: The female alpha shark. She's the one who leads the other two sharks in their escape.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Verging on a Downer Ending. Carter and Preacher survive and prevent the last shark from escaping into the ocean, but everyone else is dead, the base is wrecked and the research that caused so much trouble was on a disk that got fried, meaning the entire plot, and all the deaths - including Susan's - were All for Nothing.
  • Black Dude Dies First: There are actually two black dudes. One, a heroic leader figure played by Samuel L. Jackson, and the other, a secondary comic-relief character separated from the main group with his own B-plot played by rapper LL Cool J. He even points out the trope ("Ooh, I'm done! Brothers never make it out of situations like this! Not ever!"). Guess which dies first? You guessed wrong. Preacher even survives, thanks to the below-mentioned Focus Group Ending, and Jackson's character dies right in the middle of his Rousing Speech. Double subverted in the Samuel L Jackson's character isn't the first to die.
  • Cat Scare: With a model shark floating in one of flooded corridors. Then subverted when a real shark shows up immediately afterwards.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Preacher's cross necklace. He uses it as a weapon to save himself. See Eye Poke below.
  • Cooked to Death: Attempted; the cook takes refuge in an oven and the shark bumps the knob, turning it on. He appreciates the irony, but he manages to break free and use the gas to blow up the shark.
  • Darkest Hour: So, we've slowly whittled the cast down to three people. Susan sacrifices herself to get the shark in range of the Harpoon Gun. Carter, who leapt into the water to save her, is now riding on the back of the shark as it swims toward its escape. Preacher takes his shot at the 45 foot shark... and pins Carter to the dorsal fin. Lampshaded. "A 45-foot shark and you hit me? Nice."
  • Darkness Equals Death: Susan goes into her dark, half-submerged room for files. A shark sneaks in and tries to kill her.
  • Deader than Dead: The film quite graphically shows Franklin, Tom, and Susan all being torn apart and devoured by the sharks, as if to let the audience know that they are indeed dead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Carter and Preacher most notably.
  • Dead Star Walking: Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Death by Irony: Subverted, as the character escapes with his life. Preacher hides from a shark in one of his ovens, when the shark's thrashing turns on the gas. He even lampshades this as he's making his escape.
  • Decoy Protagonist: No, Samuel L. Jackson is not the main character of the movie. And neither is Saffron Burrows.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The end credits song "Deepest Bluest (Shark's Fin)" is by LL Cool J.
  • Dwindling Party:
    • Obviously. Brenda is the first to go in a blaze of fire along with the 2 helicopter pilots in the crash, and is quickly followed by Jim who the sharks used as a battering ram to flood the station and left to drown; their early deaths is what doomed many of the others. Franklin is killed quite suddenly while giving a Rousing Speech, making it clear that Anyone Can Die is in full effect. Janice becomes shark food after the crews escape plan by decompression goes wrong and despite Carter's best efforts couldn't save her. Tom is killed after successfully pulling off a mission along with Carter for the group to escape. Finally Susan is killed in an attempt to lure the last shark back to the station after her escape attempt is foiled. By the end, only Carter and Preacher are still alive.
    • This also applies to any animals, such as the sharks and Preacher's pet bird. The bird was quickly eaten by one shark, along with most of the humor. Shortly after Preacher blows said shark to hell in a gas explosion. Susan kills the second shark by electrocuting it at the cost of her research. The final shark is defeated with an improvised explosive, at the cost of Susan's life. In the end, the only characters alive (animal or human) are Carter and Preacher.
  • Eaten Alive: Russell is giving a Rousing Speech about how they are going to escape their entrapment from a murderous shark that is killing the rest of their co-workers. He is, however, interrupted during his speech by said shark, who jumps out of the tank, swallows him whole, then jumps back in.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Played with. At the end Preacher asks Carter if he was sure that there were only three sharks, and Carter says yes. Then he takes his feet out of the water just to be sure. Justified, since all of the blood from the chaos would be likely to attract wild/normal sharks.
  • Eye Poke: This is how Preacher survives being grabbed by one of the sharks. The behemoth is dragging him through the water in her huge jaws, and in desperation he grabs his cross necklace and starts to stab her with it. She lets him go when he damages one of her eyes.
  • Fanservice: Susan is being stalked through the flooded complex by a shark. She comes up with a plan to electrocute the shark, which requires an insulating sheet, which requires her to strip off her wetsuit. Also, she possesses the only wetsuit in the entire film that zips in the front, allowing her to show some cleavage.
  • Fight to Survive: The story is about trying to survive and get out after the sharks are loosed.
  • Final Girl: Subverted, in a case of Real Life Re-Writes The Plot. Originally Susan was meant to survive and Preacher die, but because test audiences found her so annoying and Preacher so likable, the studio actually went back and re-shot the ending.
  • For Science!: Subverted. The cast rails against Susan's experiments, but it was never "for science", just for her dead father. That pissed her off, and she stated that she didn't need to justify her actions.
  • Genre Deconstruction: The film is fully aware it's a killer shark film, and subverts many tropes of the genre, especially the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality and Super-Persistent Predator.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Their efforts to make the shark's brains bigger succeeded helps that the intelligence was just a byproduct instead of the goal.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The shark's escape wasn't exactly as planned though.
  • Great White Hunter: Carter.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The last shark rips Susan in half before devouring her remains.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • While a true Heroic Sacrifice does not occur, it is worth pointing out that once Preacher's shot with the spear-gun tethers Carter to the Shark, Carter yells for Preach to detonate the improvised explosive and kill the shark. Carter obviously considered his own death which would result, an acceptable price to keep the Gen-II shark from escaping to menace the oceans (and for that matter procreate new generations of super-intelligent sharks). Fitting, considering that Carter was the only one who realized how dangerous the sharks really were before everything began to fall apart. (Fortunately, he manages to free himself before the explosive is detonated.) Also worth nothing that the only reason he was even in that situation was due to the culmination of events that resulted after he dove into the water trying to save Susan from the shark.
    • Susan herself. While it's certainly debatable how heroic she gets over the course of the film, and she never intended it to be a sacrifice, she cuts her hand and jumps into the water to lure the last shark close enough to be shot with an improvised explosive harpoon. A rusty ladder rung thwarted her attempt to survive this action.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: In the climax, Dr. Susan McCallister is eventually eaten by the intelligent supershark that she herself had modified with illegal brain hormones.
  • Horse of a Different Color: In the climax, Carter inadvertently ends up performing a rodeo on the back of the biggest shark by grabbing its dorsal fin, since its jaws can't get to him that way.
  • Idiot Ball: Passed around right before Janice's death. She falls into the water, and stays there crying for help. It's a little hard to believe that, even in a state of frenzied panic and fear of impending death, she'd forget that there is a PERFECTLY FINE LADDER about eight feet away from her; swimming over to it from the get go would likely have been easier than treading water for ages. And Carter, rather than urge her to swim over to him, instead instructs her to just stay afloat right where the shark can most easily grab her, while taking the time to climb onto the broken ladder section so he can stage a Take My Hand! scene by fishing her out of the water. Predictably, he fails.
  • Ignored Expert: Jake Carter tries to convince the "good" doctor that her plan is spectacularly ill-conceived. Obviousness levels approaching Only Sane Man territory.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Despite all the deaths they caused, the shark's main goal originally was simply to escape from the aquarium and return to the sea, their home. Carter lampshades this later.
  • It Can Think: There's an underwater facility housing intelligent sharks. The sharks pulled a Batman Gambit on the humans, herding them around so they'd flood the complex and sink it low enough for the sharks to escape! They even (possibly) learned how to turn an oven on while one of the humans was in it.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: It had to open with one.
  • Kick the Dog: An extreme example. Preacher's pet parrot gets eaten by one of the sharks that infiltrates the lab's kitchen after the breach.
  • Kill It with Fire: One way to kill a shark.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence / Sedgwick Speech: Russell's effort to rally the troops with a Rousing Speech goes horribly wrong when one of the sharks jumps out of the water and eats him.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Big Shark, whose appearance always brings death-and-destruction and is usually accompanied by a terrifying, satanic-sounding leitmotif with ominous chanting. Each time she appears except one, someone dies.
  • Large and in Charge: There are three genetically enhanced sharks in the film: two first-generation 20 foot ones, and a second-generation 45 foot one. Guess which one bosses the other two around, and is the last of the sharks to go down?
  • Leitmotif: Movie itself has several. Big Shark has one, which usually involves chanting and sounds downright hellish.
  • MacGuffin: The Alzheimer's data disk Susan was trying to salvage. It gets fried by electricity, which almost makes this a Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
  • Made of Explodium: The entire above-water section of the base goes up in a fireball that's practically nuclear when a helicopter crashes into the radio tower. Was it raining gasoline?
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted - all three female characters are killed (Brenda gets it when the helicopter crashes into the tower, and both Susan and Janice become shark snacks), with only Preacher and Carter surviving the movie. The original version would have played this straight, with Preacher dying and Susan surviving, but it was changed after test screenings because audiences universally loved him and hated her.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The super-smart sharks are said to prefer eating other sharks, presumably to remove competition. The researchers feed an unmodified tiger shark to the genetically engineered makos, which quickly proceed to tear it apart. However, at no point do the enhanced sharks target each other, making it seem more like pack competition than sheer bloodthirstiness.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The makos has these.
  • Night Swim Equals Death: It looks like a bunch of teenagers on a catamaran are about to become snacks for one of genetically modified sharks, until Carter shows up.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The sharks do not what they do For the Evulz or stuff. They're trying to return in their habitat and to be finally free.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Susan says this almost word for word while trying to tend to the injured Dr. Whitlock.
  • Off with His Head!: Post-mortem: One of the shark's bites off Franklin's head and eats it before letting the other Shark have the rest.
  • Ominous Crack: Shortly after the extraction of brain tissue from one of the genetically engineered mako sharks, Dr. Whitlock is attacked by the supposedly sedated animal and has to be rushed to the surface. During the chaos that ensues, Whitlock's stretcher is dropped into the water by the crashing rescue helicopter and one of the sharks throws it against the laboratory's observation window, resulting in an Ominous Crack.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: While Carter is underwater he finds Dr. Whitlock.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Preacher's parrot.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: When Franklin arrives on the marine facility, he makes a Fantasy Island reference that goes over Janice's head.
    Franklin: [sigh] I am getting old.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You ate my bird."
  • Pun-Based Title: The team finds itself almost literally "between the Devil and the deep blue sea," with the intelligent sharks being a Devil of their own making.
  • Rasputinian Death: Whitlock. The shark eats his arm, an attempt to airlift him away in the middle of the storm goes as well as one would expect, and another shark proceeds to "throw" his drowning body towards a giant window, which proceeds to crack.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Susan.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: "You ate my bird!"
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The makos don't seem to just be trying to set themselves free. There are just some little things they do that indicate they're trying to intimidate and frighten the humans, such as the aforementioned Ominous Crack.
  • Rousing Speech: Samuel L. Jackson delivers an amazing subversion, when he's gobbled up by the biggest mako just as he's shifting from chastisements to inspirational.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Russell Franklin, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The calmest, most level-headed, natural leader who has survived at least one other life-or-death situation previously. He's killed not only in the middle of a Rousing Speech, but in mid-sentence of starting a plan the may have avoided many more deaths.
  • Scale of Scientific Sins: Giving sharks, already apex predators, an intelligence boost?! Yeah, people are gonna die.
  • Science Is Bad: Par for the course with late-90s horror/sci-fi movies. Don't even try to cure Alzheimer's Disease, that way lies the path to giant evil sharks!
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: Okay, genetically tampering with the sharks to increase brain mass made them smarter, fine. How did that teach them the structural weaknesses of the base they can't physically enter so they know how flooding it will collapse key sections, bringing the fence sufficiently low that they can escape?
  • Scylla and Charybdis: The team has a narrow chance of surviving if they can avoid getting eaten or drowning, and a few manage to do so.
  • Shark Fin of Doom: The sharks' dorsal fins breaking the water surface is sporadically used to betray their presence. However, this is played with in one scene. Susan is wading through a partially submerged corridor to retrieve the MacGuffin from her laboratory when a shark seems to approach her from behind, but it turns out to just be a harmless shark model. Then seconds later, she sees a second fin, which turns out to be the real deal.
  • Shock and Awe: Another way to kill a shark.
  • Short-Lived Aerial Escape: The director of this film has a tradition of blowing choppers, after all.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Jaws, of course. It opens with the shark's POV, the scene where Susan confronts a shark in the lab is similar to the one with Brody inside the sinking Orca, and two of the sharks are blown up (like in the original—with the shot being almost a replica of that in the first film—and the 3rd) and one is electrocuted (like in Jaws 2). It's even done in the same order (gas explosion, electrocution, chemical explosives).
    • Even the way the sharks attack is reminiscent of several Jaws movies. As an example, how the shark tears off the arm of one of the scientists is from Jaws: The Revenge, and when the shark crashes against the window is from Jaws 3-D.
    • Preacher's hiding in the oven looks a lot like a similar scene in Jurassic Park.
    • The scene of the vertical-shaft climb is a clear homage to The Poseidon Adventure.
    • Early in the film, a license plate is pulled out of a shark's mouth. It's the same license plate that fell out of the shark's stomach in Jaws.
    • The film's poster. The shot of the menacing shark looming behind the unsuspecting Susan is very similar to the posters of Jaws and Jaws 2, which had the shark looming under and behind an unsuspecting swimmer and water-skier, respectively.
    • The film even ends similarly to Jaws with two guys surviving, with the character who delivers the killing blow initially believing himself to be the Sole Survivor and being happy to see the other guy surfacing after a confrontation with the shark.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: An effective one. By a shark.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Funnily enough, Preacher's pet parrot swears more than anybody else in the movie.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: Repeatedly subverted throughout the movie. The Sacrificial Lamb teenagers in the opening are saved by Carter before they become shark food, the biggest name in the cast, Samuel L. Jackson, is eaten by a shark in the middle of a Rousing Speech, all three female characters, including the female lead, are killed off, and the comedy relief black guy is one of the only two survivors.
  • Space Isolation Horror: A character mentions early in the film that "living underwater is like living in space, you don't get many mistakes." The bulk of the film involves genetically-engineered super-intelligent sharks systematically flooding the mostly-submerged research lab with the intent to damage the fences enough to escape, while chowing down on any of the humans they come across.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Susan, who clearly didn't need to jump in the water to distract the shark with her blood, and even if she did have to jump, she could have stuck close to the ladder.
  • Supporting Protagonist:
    • Preacher single-handedly kills one shark, miraculously saves everyone when one of their escape attempts fails, and in the end saves the day by killing the last shark and giving Carter time to escape. Although escape would've been easier had Preacher not shot him in the leg with the harpoon gun while shooting the shark. He's also the only person in the entire movie who survives a direct attack by one of the sharks (the biggest one no less), even partially blinding it in the process.
    • Carter also fits, as Susan is supposedly the focus of the movie (she's even in the poster).
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The sharks; Tom Jane even points out that sharks don't particularly like the taste of people. Justified because eating the people isn't the goal, getting them to open doors and flood the facility is. Although wiping them out is a beneficial bonus since no one else would know about the super intelligent sharks...
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Again, when the top billed actor (Samuel L. Jackson) is chewed by a shark half-way through the movie you can't help but be surprised.
  • Survival Mantra: Starts Biblical ("Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.") then the blackness kicks in ("Because I carry a big stick and I'm the meanest mother fucker in the valley! Two sharks down, Lord! One demon fish to go! Can I get an Amen?").
  • Suspiciously Stealthy Predator: One of the first things the super-intelligent mako sharks do that proves their intelligence is when they take out all the cameras in their pen so they can't be tracked, despite there being no reason why they would even understand a technology like that or ability to communicate it to each other.
  • Take My Hand!: When traveling up the service shaft, this happens with Carter trying to grab Janice out of the water when she falls in. The shark drags her under only to leap back up with the woman still half eaten and covered in gore, hand still reaching out to be saved before sinking back under. These sharks are so intelligent that the only reason for it to be doing that is either because it was taunting him, or hoping he'd grab her because with the full weight of a super shark with half her body down his gullet, the only thing that could have happened would have been him getting dragged own with them.
  • Terrible Trio: The sharks are three in total and are angry, brutal and murderous.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Jim Whitlock gets his arm ripped off by a shark. He then gets heli-lifted in the middle of a raging storm before his stretcher drops in the water. One of the sharks grabs the stretcher and propels Jim head first into the glass dome of the lab.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: As the three last characters have only one escape route remaining, one that will require them to swim 60 feet to the surface with the Big Shark lurking nearby, they all acknowledge how much they're not looking forward to this.
    Are you ready?
    Not in the least.
  • Threatening Shark: This movie is notable for using Makos as the sharks, rather than Great Whites. Even so they are supersized and massively intelligent, as a regular-sized Mako wouldn't be quite as intimidating.
  • Title Drop: When Carter realizes that the sharks have been using the humans to flood the facility so they could escape.
    Carter: "That's the answer to the riddle. Because that's what an 8000-pound mako thinks about. About freedom. About the Deep Blue Sea."
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Russell Franklin's best plan to escape the lowest level of the facility was to try to out-swim two freaking sharks to the surface. Fortunately, one of the other survivors tears this plan to pieces by comparing the swimming speeds of average humans and average sharks (the sharks unsurprisingly being several times greater), and provides a less-suicidal method of escape.
    • Janice. As Cracked have pointed out, when the ladder broke, she landed in the water less than a few feet from the part of the ladder still attached to the wall. Instead of climbing back up as fast as she can, she splashes around in the same spot and screams for a full minute until her inevitable death occurs.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Carter and Susan. Or at least Scoggins believe so ("We got one, there's two sharks left, and you and the doc are doing a little bathroom love.").
  • Uplifted Animal: Downplayed. The alterations to the sharks' brains gave them enhanced intelligence. However, while they're much smarter than they were before, they still think like sharks, with all that implies.
  • Trapped-with-Monster Plot: A group of scientists are trapped inside an underwater research laboratory with three genetically enhanced sharks. It also happens over the weekend, meaning that most of the facility's personel is on leave, leaving only a skeleton crew of about 10 people to deal with the sharks.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Preacher. It's a late-90s Science Is Bad horror movie, so somebody has to fit the bill — why not LL Cool J? However, Preacher kind of bucks the trend of the typical Uncle Tomfoolery character by proving himself genuinely competent at fighting the super-smart sharks and getting a few badass moments to shine, so much so that the ending was changed specifically to have him survive and kill off the female lead in his stead, as the test audience liked him so much. It also helps that most of his wisecracks are genuinely funny and his performance is enjoyable as hell in a movie that has some very dark, brutal deaths in it.
  • Villain Song: "Deepest Bluest", the ending credits theme song by LL Cool J is written from either the perspective of the sharks or of LL himself as a man-shark hybrid.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Susan McAllister used illegal means to increase the sharks' brain sizes so she could use the hormones harvested from them to manufacture a cure for Alzheimer's disease, which her own father previously succumbed to. She's ultimately responsible for the deaths in the film, but her motives were altruistic, not based in greed or a desire for fame.
  • Wham Line: At the end, when Carter realizes what the sharks have been up to the entire time.
    Carter: Those fences are titanium, but up top, they're just plain steel. They've been herding us, using us to flood the facility.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dr. Susan is called out on how her research, no matter how made with good intentions, resulted in sharks that are now killing everyone and destroying the lab.
  • The World's Expert (on Getting Killed): Russell Franklin is the only character with experience and skill for handling dangerous survivalist situations like the one the team faces. Sadly, he dies in the process of explaining what needs to be done.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Preacher, though at times it actually works out to his advantage.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Preacher when he realizes he might be roasting himself in his own kitchen oven.
    Preacher: I appreciate the irony, Lord; "Cook dies in his own oven!" But I've. Got other. Plans!

[after killing all the sharks]
Carter: Amen.
[ending credits theme kicks in]