Boats and Hollywood have a long and colorful history together dating back to iconic movies like African Queen (1951) and what is arguably the world’s first blockbuster, Jaws (1975) to modern classics like Captain Phillips (2013) and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). One thing seems to remain constant throughout: nearly all of these movies make you second guess ever getting on a boat yourself. Whether it be because of the fear of getting shipwrecked, hijacked by pirates or encountering killer sharks or even supernatural entities, there always seems to be something ready to ruin what should have been a fun boating trip.
While we wait for Hollywood’s next big boating misadventure, which will be coming to us later this year in the form of Kenneth Branagh’s take on the Agatha Christie classic Death on The Nile, here are 7 other movies will make you second guess ever getting on a boat.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” is one of the most iconic movie lines in history, taken from one of the most iconic movies in history. After watching a relentless great white shark ravage a beach of tourists and engage in a full-on battle with a boat and its crew, it wasn’t really a bigger boat people wanted, though; they wanted to steer well clear of any open water all together. In fact, Jaws and the notion of a vengeful rogue shark spurred a national phobia of the sea, sharks and a genuine drop in beach tourism. Activists have spent many years since making a concerted effort trying to educate people to understand and respect the role sharks play in the oceans and the earth’s ecosystem.
Titanic is proof that ‘bigger’ is not always better. Technically a ship not a boat, the RMS Titanic was carrying 3,320 people when it was destroyed by a giant iceberg, the majority of who did not survive the aftermath. The real-life tragedy portrayed in James Cameron’s harrowing 1997 epic would have certainly put off a lot of people from getting on a boat for quite some time. Obviously, the sheer scale of death and destruction was certainly impactful, but it felt even more personal as we spend nearly 3 hours with the two lead characters, Rose and Jack, following their forbidden romance and rooting for them throughout. After allowing the audience to develop this tight intimate bond with these two characters, we’re left devastated as, spoiler alert, it does not end well.
This 2009 psychological horror film written and directed by Christopher Smith and starring Melissa George and Michael Dorman is a real hidden gem. Making only around $1.3 million at the box office but receiving heaps of high praise from critics, Triangle tells the story of a group of friends who go on a boating trip and are forced to abandon their ship after being hit by a storm. This may sound like a familiar story and enough of a reason to not go boating already but what happens next really cranks the fear factor into overdrive. They board a derelict ocean liner, where they become convinced that someone is stalking them. It turns out they’ve somehow entered into some kind of horrific, blood-soaked, endless time loop. It’s clever and terrifying and certainly hasn’t given me the urge to go on any boating trips in the immediate future.
4 Captain Ron
Captain Ron is a 1992 comedy starring Martin Short as a slightly neurotic, upper middle class family man named Martin Harvey who finds out he has inherited a boar from a mysterious uncle. Wanting to break free from his mundane life in suburbia, and also to protect his daughter from making some unwise decisions with the wrong type of men, he decides to take his family on a boating trip around the Caribbean. It’s not long before he discovers he is out of his depth. Enter Captain Ron: a one-eyed, wise cracking, heavy drinking, overly laid-back, veteran sailor played by Kurt Russell. He is chartered by the family to captain their boat on their voyage, but they soon find out that trouble seems to follow Captain Ron, and, by proxy, them, everywhere he goes. From regrettable sailor tattoos to brushes with the law and even pirates, the movie certainly highlights a whole host of things likely to put viewers off that boating trip they might have been planning.
Like Titanic, this is based on a real-life event, just on a much smaller scale. No less harrowing for the viewer, Adrift stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin as a couple who are adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after Hurricane Raymond, in 1983, and must find their way to Hawaii with a damaged boat and no radio. Like James Cameron did with Titanic, the film not only focuses on the disaster and survival aspects of the story but also focuses on the intimate bond and romance between the two leads, allowing the viewers to become fully invested in their wellbeing. Even from the safety of your own couch the rollercoaster of emotions you’re taken through is mentally draining, one can only imagine what it would have been like to have been there, on that boat.
2 Speed 2: Cruise Control
Speed 2: Cruise Control will make you second guess ever getting on a boat because, although said boat might actually be a luxury cruise liner, it could be hijacked, hacked and programmed, by a disgruntled former employee of the cruise liner, to crash into an oil tanker. A believable and frightening scenario, right? Believable and frightening enough for Jan De Bont and 20th Century Fox to make it the plot of the highly anticipated sequel to Keanu Reeves’ surprise hit Speed. Reeves did not reprise his role and it was panned by critics. However, it was the second highest grossing movie released in 1997 about the dangers of traveling on big cruise ships.
1 Ghost Ship
Ghost Ship is a 2002 American supernatural horror film directed by Steve Beck about a marine salvage crew in the Bering Sea who discover a mysterious ocean liner. The ship in question was the site of some awful and massively gory deaths some 40 years earlier. Needless to say, despite the masses of treasure on board the ship, nothing is quite as it seems, and a series of supernatural occurrences continually lead members of the salvage crew to their grisly deaths. So, if the movies are anything to go by, even the lure of untold fortune and hidden treasures shouldn’t be enough to tempt you out of the house and onto that boat.
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