Everybody knows that Jaws is the best shark movie. Hell, for a lot of folks, it ranks as the best movie of all time. So it’s not exactly a surprise that, when Steven Spielberg set the template for the modern blockbuster with his 1975 masterpiece, he also set a bar for aquatic terrors so high that no shark movie has managed to top it in the decades since. In fact, there aren’t many people who have even tried. Until recent years, shark cinema was pretty dormant, but the subgenre has slowly carved out a comeback over the last twenty years, culminating in the public furor for Shark Week, Sharknado, and the recent string of bigger-budget shark movies.
The genre is still pretty slight, especially if you’re looking for scary over silly, but filmmakers have managed to turn out a few anxiety-inducing thrillers between every six Syfy movies or so. For the purposes of this list, all Jaws movies are out. Not just the Oscar-winning original, but also the 100% Oscar-free sequels. So with the Greatest White Shark in movie history out of the equation, let’s take a look at the other shark movies to turn to when you’re looking for a good scare.
(Editor’s Note: We originally published this list tied to the release of The Meg, but with 47 Meters Down: Uncaged now in theaters, we’re delivering a fresh update.)