Last April we bought you an article about some of the more savage reviews that had been meted out in relation to Deep Blue Sea 2. It’s fair to say that absolutely NO-ONE has had anything positive to say about the cult 1999 film’s unwanted sequel, and so the task fell to me to sit through the movie’s 90 minutes, and see if I could find anything at all that might improve the toxic 3/10 rating that it currently has on IMDB. Given the release of The Meg, we felt it was a worthwhile experiment.
But first, a little bit about me. I’ve been a big sci-fi and comics fan since the first Captain America movie came out, and when I say that I don’t mean The First Avenger (Google it, kids, or ask your parents….). In-between raising a family of my own, holding down a full time job and writing for ScreenGeek, I watch a frankly stupid amount of TV and film. The advent of streaming has only served to destroy what little free time I had left. From Japanese horror movies, to animated sequels based on dead franchises, to Russian fantasy flicks. I will literally watch any old shit, and pretty much always find something redeeming in each and every one of them that a mainstream audience would most likely sniff at.
Finding a movie that hasn’t got a single redeeming feature to it is a rare thing indeed. It’s practically a Holy Grail level of rarity. To get absolutely NOTHING posItive out of the film’s combined script, production and cast takes a skill that only comes along once in a generation. And Deep Blue Sea 2 is a shining, gold-plated example of that skill.
There’s a reason that Hollywood doesn’t make many shark movies. Sharks are notoriously difficult to work with (you should see their riders), be they real or made of clockwork. The only way to sell a shark movie to an audience is to plow pretty much all of your production budget into creating convincing killing machines. From the opening couple of shots, it’s clear the makers of Deep Blue Sea 2 never had that conversation with anybody. It’s not just the sharks that have been created with shonky CGI, BUT THE SEA HAS BEEN TOO…
The pre-titles sequence sees two South African extras from Dredd slaughtered by what appears to be a synchronized swimming team of computerized sharks. So maybe the producers spent the money they saved on the CGI for some practical effects, right? Wrong. Death sequences involve asking an actor to tread water, throwing a bucket of red dye into the sea next to him, and then asking him to duck under for thirty seconds. I’m literally less than five minutes in, and want to give up already.
It takes virtually no time at all to establish that these opening scenes will not be the worst crimes that the film has to offer. The titles sequence mercifully drops the Minecraft sharks (that look like they came from the same computer as ‘Mega-Shark Vs Giant Octopus’ and opt instead for some stock footage from Shark Week. The paper-thin plot then throws together a collection of the most cliched film characters ever, played by a couple of American TV actors. The only interest to be had here is drawing up the order in which you think they’ll die…
We’ve got an unconvincing female biologist. An unconvincing crooked lawyer. A slightly less unconvincing eccentric billionaire. A brooding hero with the charisma of a plank of wood. A recently married pair of young scientists. A nerdy computer geek and a grumpy vet. And this time round there’s nothing as noble as a cure for Alzheimer’s on the table, instead the plot features some ludicrous idea about a pharmaceutical company developing banned sports steroids by testing them on sharks.
Once the computerised sharks conspire to pull off an utterly improbable health and safety accident, the unconvincing cast then stagger up and down the same unconvincing three flooded corridors. Which are alternately lit by red, green or blue lights in an attempt to convince audiences the movie budget stretched to constructing more than three corridor sets. It really didn’t.
At the halfway mark, any semblance of an attempt to make a film that could ever be grounded in reality are thrown out of the window. Because the big fake sharks can’t get into the sinking laboratory, some baby fake sharks are introduced instead. They’re created essentially by pumping some air bubbles up onto the flooded set, raising the volume of the music, and again asking the actors to tread water and duck down in red dye. This happens A LOT…
With some boring deaths, unnecessary cleavage shots of the heroine and a completely lacklustre ending, this really is 90 minutes of your life you could spend doing just about anything else. But what’s most insulting about this whole torrid affair is that it’s criminally stupid, and treats you as though you were as well.
Plot contrivances include the sharks digging a tunnel at one point, and the hero using a sonic key fob to keep them in check. The underwater laboratory is supposed to stretch so far under the sea it needs external illumination to see the sharks, but then a scene involving a diver on the ocean floor is clearly lit by bright overhead daylight. On one scene, a character even spends two minutes reading an email he is sending out loud, just in the case the audience missed the conversation he was having with somebody else five minutes earlier.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that’s so obviously been made with no budget, and I’ve seen some ropey old films in my time. None of the boats used are much bigger than a dinghy, the external shots of the floating lab are essentially a floating garden shed and some buoys, and the creature effects wouldn’t make it past the quality control of a BBC kids feature.
Rather than embracing and making light of all this, the movie instead hopes you don’t notice, and cynically cashes in on the legacy of the original cult classic to keep you sat through it. If played for laughs, or with the odd knowing-wink, there might have been an opportunity for something entertaining here. Instead, we have an early contender for ScreenGeek’s worst film of the year.