Deep Blue Sea 3 Review | Baby Shark Grows Up

Ever since I first watched Deep Blue Sea, on that fateful night that I stayed up flicking through channels on TV, it has been one of my favorite creature features of all time. The film's self-awareness in how it subverts and executes genre tropes makes it an entertaining way to spend an hour and forty-five minutes. Nineteen years later, in 2018, the much-loved shark movie received a sequel in the form of Deep Blue Sea 2. The sequel, which I watched only a few hours before watching the third movie, recycles the plot of the original and focuses on the Akheilos facility where a billionaire is using sharks to research ways to make humans smarter. This results in a swarm of baby bull sharks that hunt and kill most of the small team at Akheilos and the film ends with the three remaining team members blowing up the operation in hopes of killing all the shark prodigies. But as the last shot of the movie showed, momma shark survived and so did a few of her babies.

I bring all this up because Deep Blue Sea 3 has something that the second movie seemed to avoid at all costs: consequences. Unlike the 2018 film, which only mentions the first film in passing, Deep Blue Sea 3 shows its characters dealing with the repercussions of the events of the previous story. Set on a small, slowly sinking, fishing village off the coast of Mozambique, Deep Blue Sea 3 tells the story of Dr. Emma Collins and her team as they come across three bull sharks that escaped the Akheilos research facility. For good measure, there's also an armed corporate-funded group that is hunting the bull sharks for their own nefarious reasons. 

Much like the first film, Deep Blue Sea 3 is aware of its expectations and its success comes from how it handles them. For example, most monster attack movies take place in a remote location away from civilization. In the case of the first Deep Blue Sea movie that location is the Aquatica research facility. The second film takes the easy way out and is set in a similar facility called Akheilos. In the third film, the characters are on a man-made island that's above a shark nursery. This relatively small shift opens the door for new possibilities for carnage without losing out on the tension that's found in a far-out setting. And speaking of carnage, while the film isn't viscerally shocking with its kills, it does have a few surprises up its sleeves. I won't spoil any of the fun but I will say that whenever I watch a monster movie I play a little game where I try to guess who will make it to the end, and I have never been proven wrong so fast. And if you don't want the movie spoiled for you then I'd recommend you avoid the trailers because they give away a few things that are better left to be discovered when watching the movie. 

The film does take some time to set up its characters but never long enough to slow down the film's pacing or make the audience hope for the core characters to die at the jaws of the sharks. Goes to show that a few scenes in a lab and a dinner conversation followed by shots (of the alcoholic kind) goes a long way. The cast, which consists of Tania Raymonde (Lost), Nathaniel Buzolic (The Originals), Emerson Brooks (The Last Ship),  Bren Foster (The Last Ship), and more, does a great job at committing to their characters even in the more over the top moments. Their delivery makes the difference between cheesiness and believability.

My only real problems with Deep Blue Sea 3 come in the form of some rough CGI and some continuity errors. The most blatant of which happens when a character gets bitten by a shark on the left side and the bite marks magically appear on the right side instead. CGI in the film is inconsistent, sometimes being real enough and/or fast enough to be convincing and at other times it makes one wonder how we've made it to 2020 without being able to create realistic computer-generated sharks. But these problems can be easily overlooked because the film never asks you to buy into the film's narrative for anything more than a good time. 

In the end, considering how panned Deep Blue Sea 2 was, it's surprising that Deep Blue Sea 3 got the green light at all. But it's apparent when watching the film that director John Pogue and writer Dirk Blackman knew what made the original successful and that sticking to the formula doesn't simply mean remaking the original with a new cast. Deep Blue Sea 3 is available now to rent and purchase on VOD services.

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