Top Water-Based Horror Films

With Universal Studios recently announcing the closure of one of their original attractions, Jaws, I started to think about the horror movie itself. The movie was not only terrifying because of the giant, uncontrollable shark, but it also terrified because it involved one of the most vast, unknown elements in the world: Water. The ocean itself can be absolutely terrifying simply for the fact that it’s a mystery. One cannot see every living thing that is swimming around in the ocean and a person can suddenly be attacked without ever seeing its attacker coming. So, I decided to make a list of some of the best water-based horror films around.


 A small, quaint New England town is gearing up for one of its most populated times of the year: summer. A woman is unexpectedly attacked and killed by a great white shark, which is unheard of in the area. When Amity Chief officer, Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), tries closing down the beach to protect tourists, the town council denies his requests because they do not want to lose money. Bad decision. Jaws is a ruthless killing machine who has hundreds of vulnerable people to eat. It’s all up to Brody, Marine Biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and shark hunter, Sam Quint (Richard Shaw) to take down the unstoppable force in this 1975 Steven Spielberg classic.

Open Water:

You all know the terrifying true story. Two Americans on vacation go scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef with a tour group. A guide mistakenly miscounts how many people are on board and the American couple is left stranded in the middle of the ocean. The couple must learn how to survive while fending off hungry sharks. Uh, I will never, EVER go scuba diving. Unless it’s in my bathtub. And I have this motion sickness inducing movie to thank for that!
Deep Blue Sea:
For whatever reason, Dr. Susan McCallister (Saffron Barrows) decides to experiment with sharks in order to cure Alzheimer’s. The sharks are kept in a well built testing facility in the middle of the ocean until, “The sharks got smarter,” (It sounds so fun when you try saying it with a British accent, does it not?). The facility starts falling a part, which isn’t good because the people inside realize that they are going to drown and/or get eaten by super smart sharks. The film has one of the best deaths by shark to date. Plus, LL Cool J and Samuel L Jackson in one movie?! Count me in. Somebody needs to get these motherf#cking sharks out of this motherf#cking ocean!
 This film, adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, isn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece. However, that doesn’t stop me from secretly loving it! The movie follows an American couple, Barbara and Paul, who are boating with their friends Vicki and Howard off the coast of Spain. Suddenly, their boat capsizes, leaving Vicki and Howard injured. Barbara and Paul seek help on a small island nearby and soon learn that its inhabitants are far from human. Everything from the dark lighting of the film, to the unknown language and area, makes for a creepy atmosphere. The movie is definitely one of my favorites because it has an old-school horror story feel to it.
Creepshow 2: The Raft
The Raft is a part of the classic horror anthology series, Creepshow 2, and it has always been one of my favorite tales from the series. When I was younger, this story scared THE CRAP out of me. The story follows four college kids who decide to go swimming in a lake in the middle of nowhere, while no one is around. Once the group is settled on the raft in the center of the lake, a black, sludge-like substance forms in the water beneath and around them. The kids think nothing of it until one of them touches the weird substance which results in the stuff climbing up the girl’s body and completely devouring her. Uh-oh. The group must realize how to get back to shore without falling prey to the mysterious oil slick in the water. Love it.
This is just my short and sweet list of my favorite water-based horror movies. There are so many more movies, like the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but if I was going to name all of the horror movies that involve water, I’d be writing for days. What movies are on your list?


  1. Amanda

    I know, I know. It's really hard making these lists because there are so many good movies, but I just made a list of the few that I really enjoyed. Piranha is obviously a classic…have you seen the remake? What else would you have on your list?!

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