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The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea 

Ranker Film
Updated January 13, 2020 4k votes 837 voters 50k views 28 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite scary films that take place in the ocean, whether the danger is mainly in drowning, a hungry sea monster, or something more sinister.

The open sea can be scary in and of itself, but when a deadly force enters the picture it becomes downright terrifying. The top sea horror movies feature bloodthirsty sea creatures looking for their next meal. This is a list of the best scary ocean movies, including everything from The Abyss to Deep Blue Sea to Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep.

What films will you find on this list of the best water horror movies? A man-eating shark disrupts a sleepy resort town in the 1975 classic Jawsdirected by Steven Spielberg. The suspenseful plot - along with the movie's timeless score - added to the frightening viewing experience. As the title suggests, Ghost Ship finds a haunted vessel tormenting fellow sailors. Other good movies featured on this list include Open Water, Sphere, and Shark Night.

Which scary water movie is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

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list ordered by
1
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more
2
Deep Blue Sea is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, Thomas Jane

Released: 1999

Directed by: Renny Harlin

Deep Blue Sea is a 1999 science fiction horror film, starring Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was directed by ...more
3
The Shallows is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Blake Lively

Released: 2016

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

The Shallows is a 2016 American survival thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The film follows a surfer (Blake Lively) as she gets stranded 200 yards from shore, and must use her wits ...more
4
Lake Placid is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Betty White, Mariska Hargitay, Bridget Fonda

Released: 1999

Directed by: Steve Miner

Lake Placid is a 1999 American monster horror comedy film. The film was written by David E. Kelley and directed by Steve Miner, starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan ...more
5
Ghost Ship is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Julianna Margulies, Emily Browning, Karl Urban

Released: 2002

Directed by: Steve Beck

Ghost Ship is a 2002 American-Australian horror film directed by Steve Beck. The film was shot in Queensland, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. It stars an ensemble cast featuring Gabriel Byrne, ...more
6
Open Water is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Saul Stein, Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis

Released: 2003

Directed by: Chris Kentis

Open Water is a 2003 drama psychological horror film loosely based on the true story of an American couple, Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who in 1998 went out with a scuba diving group, Outer Edge ...more
7
The Abyss is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott

Released: 1989

Directed by: James Cameron

The Abyss is a 1989 American science fiction-adventure film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. When an American submarine ...more
8
The Meg is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Jason Statham, Jessica McNamee, Li Bingbing

Released: 2018

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

The Meg is a 2018 American science fiction action horror film directed by Jon Turteltaub, based on the book by Steve Alten. Former Naval captain and expert diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is ...more
9
Jaws 2 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Roy Scheider, Murray Hamilton, Ann Dusenberry

Released: 1978

Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc

Jaws 2 is a 1978 American horror thriller film and the first sequel to Steven Spielberg's Jaws, and the second installment in the Jaws franchise, which was based on Peter Benchley's novel of the ...more
10
The Reef is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Zoe Naylor, Adrienne Pickering, Gyton Grantley

Released: 2010

Directed by: Andrew Traucki

The Reef is a 2010 Australian horror film. The film was written and directed by Andrew Traucki, his second feature film, and is about a group of friends who capsize while sailing to Indonesia. ...more
11
Deep Rising is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Famke Janssen, Djimon Hounsou, Jason Flemyng

Released: 1998

Directed by: Stephen Sommers

Deep Rising is a 1998 American action horror film directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen and Anthony Heald. It was distributed by Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi ...more
12
Sphere is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Dustin Hoffman

Released: 1998

Directed by: Barry Levinson

Sphere is a 1998 science fiction psychological thriller film, directed and produced by Barry Levinson and starring Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, and Samuel L. Jackson. Sphere was based on the ...more
13
Dead Calm is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane

Released: 1989

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Dead Calm is a 1989 Australian thriller film starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane. It was based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Williams. The film was directed by ...more
14
Triangle is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Melissa George, Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani
Triangle is a 2009 psychological horror thriller film written and directed by Christopher Smith. Jess (Melissa George) plays a single mother who goes on a boating trip with several friends. When ...more
15
Mary is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer, Owen Teague

Released: 2019

Directed by: Michael Goi

Mary is a 2019 American horror film directed by Michael Goi. A family renovates a boat in hopes of starting a boat chartering business only find out that the boat is haunted.
16
Piranha 3D is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Kelly Brook, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd

Released: 2010

Directed by: Alexandre Aja

Piranha 3D is a 2010 American 3D horror comedy film and a remake of the 1978 film Piranha. It was directed by Alexandre Aja and has an ensemble cast featuring Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, ...more
17
The Deep is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Nick Nolte, Jacqueline Bissett, Eli Wallach

Released: 1977

Directed by: Peter Yates

The Deep is a 1977 adventure film directed by Peter Yates and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The film stars Robert Shaw, Jacqueline Bisset, and Nick Nolte.
18
Shark Night is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Katharine McPhee, Sara Paxton, Chris Carmack

Released: 2011

Directed by: David R. Ellis

Shark Night is a 2011 American 3-D horror action film directed by David R. Ellis and written by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg. It stars Sara Paxton, Katharine McPhee, Alyssa Diaz, Dustin ...more
19
Leviathan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Hayden the Monster Man added Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson, Daniel Stern

Released: 1989

Directed by: George P. Cosmatos

Leviathan is a 1989 science fiction horror film about a hideous creature and a group of people in a sealed environment, in a similar vein to such films as Alien and The Thing. It is one of many ...more
20
The Beast is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
William Petersen, Adrienne-Joi Johnson, Charles Martin Smith

Released: 1996

Directed by: Jeff Bleckner

The Beast is a 1996 television movie starring William Petersen, Karen Sillas and Charles Martin Smith. Aired in two parts as a miniseries, the movie is based on the 1991 novel Beast by Jaws ...more
21
47 Meters Down is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
kevinjcolumbus added Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Chris J. Johnson

Directed by: Johannes Roberts

47 Meters Down is a 2017 survival horror film directed by Johannes Roberts. Two sisters, Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt), decide to go cage-diving while on a trip to Mexico. They board ...more
22
Below is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Zach Galifianakis, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley

Released: 2002

Directed by: David Twohy

Below is a 2002 WWII horror film directed by David Twohy. It was written by Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky and David Twohy, and stars Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Matthew Davis, Holt ...more
23
Orca is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Andrea M Walkus-Andrew added Orca Bo Derek, Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling

Released: 1977

Directed by: Michael Anderson

Orca is a 1977 horror film directed by Michael Anderson and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, starring Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, and Will Sampson. It is based on Arthur Herzog's novel of ...more
24
Bait is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Jamie Foxx, David Morse, Jeffrey Donovan

Released: 2000

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Bait is a 2000 film starring Jamie Foxx and David Morse. It was directed by Antoine Fuqua. The film was a huge financial failure, costing Warner Bros. $51 million but only grossing approximately ...more
25
Underwater is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Horror Movies Set on the Open Sea
Underwater Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick

Released: 2020

Directed by: William Eubank

Underwater is a 2020 American adventure-thriller film directed by William Eubank. A crew of underwater researchers must scramble to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean