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The Meg and 5 other films that'll make you think twice about going in the water this summer


Amid all this scorching summer sun, your thoughts may be drifting to a day by the beach – but as several of our favourite films have warned us, this is fraught with great peril.

This is exactly the case in upcoming action-horror The Meg (arriving in Cineworld on 10th August), which sees action veteran Jason Statham as diver Jonas Taylor squaring off against a monstrous prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon.

Of course, the scariest thing about the water is we can't see what's lurking underneath. If there's one film that makes us think twice about dipping our toes in the water for fear of losing them, it's The Meg. And on that note, here are five others that'll make you reconsider going for that swim (and perhaps make you opt for a nice, safe experience in the cinema instead).

1. Jaws (1975)

Based on the novel by Peter Benchley and considered the first summer blockbuster, Jaws was the film that cemented Steven Spielberg as a filmmaking legend – even though it was only his third theatrically released movie. It was also the film that terrified the world into never going to the beach again in case we bumped into a bloodthirsty great white shark.

When the remains of a young woman are found after she's attacked by said shark during a late-night swim, police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is tasked with hunting the creature alongside oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) and professional shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) in order to keep the holidaymakers of Amity Island from becoming fish food.

What makes Jaws so effective is down to how Spielberg creates a sense of uneasiness every time we see people in the water without needing to reveal the shark until later in the film. A lot of that, of course, is down to John Williams's iconic, Oscar-winning score that still puts us on edge whenever we hear those opening bars.

2. Piranha (1978)

Whereas Jaws deployed terror in subtle ways, Joe Dante's pastiche horror-comedy Piranha is the complete opposite in that it's the kind of all-out gore-fest you'd expect from the director of Gremlins.

Instead of taking place in the ocean, the grisly events of this cult favourite occur when a pack of the genetically engineered carnivorous fish are accidentally released form a military facility into a local river during the search for two missing teenagers. Unfortunately, the river just so happens to pass by a summer camp and water park – during peak season. It's up to the pair of Maggie (Heather Menzies-Urich) and Paul (Bradford Dillman) to kill the fish before they reach the ocean.

Complete with lashings of carnage and creative practical effects, Piranha might be goofy fun for horror fans, but the thought of being nibbled on by these frightful fishes is enough for us to skip this year's summer activities.

3. Lake Placid (1999)

Although this creature feature fully embraces its schlocky silliness, Lake Placid is still a razor-toothed reminder of why you should never go for a dip in your local lake. However, it's not sharks or piranhas you should be worried about here, but a 30ft man-eating crocodile capable of eating a bear for breakfast.

After a man is found bitten in half, a team of researchers (Brendan Gleeson, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, and Bridget Fonda) are sent in to investigate, but it seems they've bitten off more than they can chew when they come up against the monstrous croc. While not the scariest film ever made, it did teach us to always keep our arms and legs inside the boat at all times.

4. Open Water (2003)

One of the scariest things about the ocean is its sheer vastness (water covers 71% of the Earth's surface, trivia fans). If you were ever to find yourself stranded at sea, miles from the nearest land, it almost certainly spells death, with exhaustion and exposure to what's beneath you posing a real danger.

This is the watery nightmare we're subjected to in Open Water, which follows a couple's attempt to survive after they get left behind on a scuba diving trip. No food, no water, no hope of rescue, and a school of hungry sharks circling an easy meal – this film is every reason why you shouldn't wander from the group.

What makes this film even scarier is it's inspired by the real-life tragedy of a couple's disappearance after being left behind during a diving trip at the Great Barrier Reef in 1998.

5. The Host (2006)

If the above films managed to scare you into avoiding all bodies of water, don't worry, because if you even live remotely near any source of H2O, you're still not safe from the creatures of the deep. This is illustrated in South Korean monster movie The Host.

When a scientist demands that 200 bottles of formaldehyde are dumped down a drain, it results in the mutation of a terrifying amphibious creature. The beast has a taste for human flesh and carries a deadly virus before going on a rampage, snatching young Hyun-seo (Ko A-Sung) and dragging her to its sewer lair. After her father (Kang-ho Song) receives a call from her saying she's still alive, he and the rest of his family face-off against the monster to save her.

Although you might be out of reach of sharks, crocs and piranhas while on land, on the basis of this movie, it's best not to let your guard down when strolling along the waterfront, in case something decides to pop out and make a snack of you.

Will you be ready to brave the water again after watching The Meg? With the movie out in Cineworld on 10th August, tweet us your favourite shark/croc/piranha movies @Cineworld.

Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.