Summer is the time to jump in the water, splash around, and have fun with friends, right? Wrong, if nearly every aquatically based movie is to be believed. From killer crocs to more sharks than you can shake a seal at, here are the top ten reasons movie fans — to crib a tagline from our No. 1 pick — should never go back into the water again.
10. A Lovelorn Killer Whale, Orca
After an Ahab-esque sea captain attacks and kills a female killer whale, her mate picks off all the members of the crew one by one, slasher style. In one of the bigger set pieces, the orca actually smashes into a houseboat in order to get his vengeance, tipping it over. There’s an easy way to avoid this one, though: don’t kill whales. Problem solved.
9. A Curmudgeonly Giant Octopus, Tentacles
When Henry Fonda starts broadcasting radio signals too loudly, a prehistoric giant octopus starts slurping up tourists at an alarming rate. Like all old people, the ancient octopus deems the high radio volume unacceptable. It’s owing only to the last-minute intervention of a school of killer whales, which turn out to be not so bad after all, that summer is saved. The lesson here? Turn down your radio to a reasonable level when you hit the beach.
8. Man-eating Worms, Deep Rising
In another twist on the evil-tentacle movie, a cruise ship on its maiden voyage (are those ever not doomed?) is attacked by gigantic bone-stripping worm creatures that chew people up, dissolve them, and spit them out. Worst of all, it turns out the tentacles are just part of a larger creature about the size of, say, a cruise ship on its maiden voyage. Time to call Carnival and cancel, don’t you think?
7. A Man-eating Snake That Likes Big Butts, Anaconda
Yep, in addition to whales, worms, and octopuses, there are snakes out there, too. A documentary crew on the trail of a lost tribe along the Amazon discovers the world’s largest killer snake, an amphibious creature with a taste for star Jennifer Lopez. Proving, of course, that this anaconda does want some, if you’ve got buns, hon. So maybe wear a less revealing bathing-suit bottom next time, ladies.
6. Hyperintelligent Sharks, Deep Blue Sea
Science gone wrong has a long tradition in the movies, but there’s probably no more stupid an idea for an experiment than creating smarter sharks. It’s about as smart as developing a contagious form of cancer. These sharks aren’t just smarter, though. They work together to trap the residents of the Aquatica Research Laboratory in the tastiest spots possible. If you see a shark swimming backward this summer, swim the other way. Quickly.
5. Theme-Park Piranhas, Piranha
Think you’re safe in the sterile, fun environment of a seaside water park? Think again, particularly if the park is downstream from a secret government project called Operation Razorteeth, which created indestructible schools of deadly piranhas. Oops. Released into the wild, these fish head to a crowded area where they can do the most damage, chomping on tourists. Yep, even the chlorinated water of the amusement park isn’t safe.
4. Incompetent Tour Guides, Open Water
In this movie loosely based on real events, two tourists on a diving expedition are accidentally left out near the Great Barrier Reef by their tour guides. Over the next few hours and days, the couple is slowly worn down by exposure, stung by jellyfish, then attacked and eaten by sharks. Proving that even when you’re with trained professionals, you will probably be eaten by sharks.
3. A Giant Crocodile, Lake Placid
Even if you manage to find a lake unattached to any other larger bodies of water and entirely bereft of sharks, octopuses, or amusement-park piranhas, it may still hold a 30-foot prehistoric crocodile, like Black Lake does in this horror-comedy. The giant croc eats cows whole and attacks a black bear and even a helicopter. Oh, and some people too. So lakes, sadly, are off-limits as well.
2. The Blob, Creepshow 2
You think blob monsters destroy only squares in fifties suburbia, but, speaking of lakes, sometimes blob creatures live there. The amorphous black blob sucks four teens below water one by one, presumably dissolving or eating them. Unlike any of the animal beasties we’ve already mentioned, you can’t shoot, punch, or maim a blob. So if you end up on this lake, you’re out of luck.
1. The Evilest Shark of Them All, Jaws
The greatest aquatic monster of them all, Steven Spielberg’s monstrous man-eating shark, has been terrorizing generations of swimmers. Though this is the third shark on the list, for sheer amount of destruction and murder nothing beats Bruce. And as you learn in the many sequels, not even death or distance can stop him. If Bruce wants to eat you, Bruce is going to eat you.