RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Deep Blue Sea (with Special Guest Saffron Burrows)

The star of Netflix's You dives deep to tell us why her 1999 smart-shark creature feature is more than just "Jaws Lite."

by | December 2, 2021 | Comments

Saffron Burrows in Deep Blue Sea (1999)

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

In the canon of notable shark movies, 1999’s Deep Blue Sea resides somewhere between Jaws and Sharknado, scary enough to provide some good jolts and campy enough to inspire a few genuine laughs. In some cases – see: the now-infamous sudden demise of Samuel L. Jackson’s Russell Franklin – you got both in the same scene. Opening just two weeks after The Blair Witch Project and one week ahead of The Sixth SenseDeep Blue Sea nevertheless managed to attract a sizable audience and carve out a space for itself during a summer that included Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom MenaceThe Mummy, and American Pie.

Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher TuneIn | Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19

Despite its healthy box office take (it grossed over $165 million worldwide), the film just barely missed the Fresh threshold at 59% on the Tomatometer, and though it spawned a pair of sequels and sparked a retrospective reassessment as one of the greatest shark movies of all time, it maintains a surprisingly low Audience Score of 39%. It also marked the beginning of director Renny Harlin’s descent into shlocky, poorly reviewed clunkers after he showed promise with action fare like Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger.

While fans of the film acknowledge its goofier B-movie trappings, they’re keen to point out its focus on its characters – LL Cool J’s resident chef Preacher is a highlight – and its effective slow build to the carnage that unfolds in the latter half of the film. There’s clearly a divide between those who feel it isn’t nearly frightening or funny enough and those who feel it accomplishes both with surprising efficiency, and that ultimately may come down to an “agree to disagree” stalemate. But for those who enjoy the gory, campy thrills of Deep Blue Sea, there is no redemption to be found in the Tomatometer or Audience Score.

One person who finds this a particularly egregious injustice admittedly has a dog – or a shark – in the fight: Saffron Burrows, who stars in Deep Blue Sea as the ill-fated Dr. Susan McCallister. Burrows can currently be seen in the hit Netflix series You, whose third season premiered a little over a month ago, and she’s also preparing to make her directorial debut on a film called Everything I Ever Wanted to Tell My Daughter About Men. But this week, she dives deep with co-hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley talk about favorite scenes and reminisce about her experience making the film.

Aside from breaking down what, in her opinion, makes Deep Blue Sea such an effective thriller, Burrows has a wealth of fun stories from the set to share. She explains how dangerous the mechanical sharks used in the film actually were and describes how her seasick co-stars Jackson and Thomas Jane fell asleep during a scene on a lifeboat. Burrows also explains how her character was originally supposed to survive but rewritten to perish after test-screening audiences called out for her death (ouch!), and recounts the time Jackson essentially saved her from drowning when Harlin thought she was just turning in a killer performance.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Tarantino Holidays Hollywood Foreign Press Association RT21 dramedy Black History Month Grammys CBS ID slasher indie Star Trek live action SDCC venice VH1 Hulu Amazon Studios legend canceled international dragons Certified Fresh popular cancelled Quiz Netflix superman best psychological thriller Disney+ Disney Plus cats RT History IFC Films hispanic heritage month mcc parents Starz Musicals Exclusive Video 99% witnail deadpool rom-coms USA 72 Emmy Awards composers sag awards Horror Extras Bravo nature aapi E! Avengers A&E DGA Discovery Channel Superheroe universal monsters adenture Photos crossover Creative Arts Emmys pirates of the caribbean 45 Rocketman sequels period drama cops screenings Adult Swim space Comedy DC Universe ABC comic Binge Guide obituary PBS AMC Plus royal family TLC ViacomCBS Star Wars book Sony Pictures YA TV movies Hallmark 20th Century Fox rt archives comedies APB fresh Ghostbusters Song of Ice and Fire Marvel sequel Warner Bros. scary movies police drama Marvel Television Rocky singing competition emmy awards President facebook Columbia Pictures stop motion Apple Image Comics superhero Countdown stoner critics japanese classics San Diego Comic-Con rt labs cinemax sitcom Country festival Ellie Kemper Sneak Peek Drama Tokyo Olympics E3 Netflix Christmas movies streaming movies hist Sundance know your critic First Look Food Network BAFTA LGBT disaster toy story twilight diversity transformers Emmy Nominations Britbox docudrama Mindy Kaling Winners GLAAD fast and furious Summer Walt Disney Pictures anime LGBTQ TV Land streaming Toys technology Logo New York Comic Con rotten movies we love batman VOD new york trophy Paramount Shudder ABC Signature First Reviews Calendar Amazon Prime video ghosts Music TV renewals scene in color Classic Film Nat Geo DirecTV SXSW BBC remakes AMC 2016 Best and Worst discovery Wes Anderson biography tv talk Women's History Month Schedule latino Television Critics Association prank PlayStation what to watch japan game of thrones theme song Legendary joker Brie Larson jurassic park Superheroes Apple TV+ doctor who YouTube italian spanish cooking Crunchyroll trailers Holiday robots 007 gangster Red Carpet australia Spectrum Originals Chernobyl Ovation BET Awards award winner Funimation HBO Go game show Pop Cannes 21st Century Fox HBO natural history Lifetime hidden camera harry potter OWN cults free movies binge Trailer Lionsgate National Geographic satire TBS nbcuniversal heist movie Pacific Islander Mary poppins rotten Fox News sports worst movies X-Men 71st Emmy Awards laika docuseries cancelled TV series independent comiccon A24 Turner Biopics YouTube Premium CW Seed adaptation golden globe awards Western Fox Searchlight Academy Awards high school talk show Hallmark Christmas movies 2015 Epix crime Pirates zombie Winter TV Fall TV Esquire psycho 2017 black comedy Thanksgiving Cartoon Network Kids & Family marvel cinematic universe jamie lee curtis criterion TCA Awards christmas movies blockbusters The Witch a nightmare on elm street nfl children's TV Pride Month NYCC football worst art house die hard live event Lifetime Christmas movies 4/20 Endgame travel rt labs critics edition young adult Paramount Network Sundance TV serial killer 79th Golden Globes Awards Mudbound Marathons CNN Comics on TV Reality USA Network Anna Paquin elevated horror TCM genre cancelled TV shows Martial Arts Interview Oscars revenge Tumblr politics scary films GIFs Pet Sematary concert IMDb TV Christmas finale breaking bad canceled TV shows halloween ESPN spinoff Disney FX Mary Tyler Moore Syfy aliens foreign Super Bowl FXX TNT DC Comics Fargo ITV crime drama Family spy thriller Character Guide Acorn TV MCU 1990s saw comic book movie Rock HBO Max Tomatazos Television Academy television Video Games Lucasfilm adventure movies franchise festivals CBS All Access dceu Universal video on demand feel good Turner Classic Movies hispanic The Walking Dead mockumentary Marvel Studios Pixar Opinion strong female leads romance 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards animated NBA monster movies El Rey boxing blockbuster TV One Shondaland biopic SundanceTV comics women WGN TV Spring TV versus boxoffice black science fiction spanish language suspense hollywood blaxploitation History Amazon Prime Video wonder woman Fantasy DC streaming service new star wars movies GoT debate cars kong vs. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ratings all-time Awards Tour The Academy Crackle Writers Guild of America dark Stephen King zombies YouTube Red spider-verse scorecard godzilla marvel comics comic books 90s chucky directors target IFC cancelled television NBC leaderboard American Society of Cinematographers Comedy Central toronto Amazon richard e. Grant screen actors guild kaiju Awards Valentine's Day Comic-Con@Home 2021 werewolf Neflix Elton John Travel Channel Universal Pictures Freeform MTV BBC America book adaptation war Rom-Com Tags: Comedy TIFF political drama Dark Horse Comics quibi Apple TV Plus critic resources anthology Nominations spider-man Disney Channel dreamworks miniseries reviews Prime Video james bond Black Mirror mutant new zealand FX on Hulu Tubi Year in Review Emmys Sci-Fi halloween tv Baby Yoda documentaries Musical indiana jones child's play zero dark thirty movie WarnerMedia telelvision PaleyFest OneApp Hear Us Out slashers dc Disney Plus Set visit TCA Winter 2020 archives 2019 Infographic Election dexter Paramount Plus Box Office renewed TV shows news action-comedy lord of the rings Mystery unscripted olympics comic book movies Broadway CMT asian-american supernatural BBC One true crime Premiere Dates Disney streaming service basketball The Purge Peacock Sundance Now See It Skip It thriller kids Captain marvel mob 2018 spain stand-up comedy Arrowverse MSNBC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Instagram Live sopranos Film cartoon green book reboot Reality Competition The Walt Disney Company Comic Book golden globes crime thriller posters 2021 Alien Watching Series teaser TruTV razzies documentary romantic comedy Film Festival Pop TV Teen Nickelodeon VICE historical drama Trophy Talk 2020 king kong 93rd Oscars Showtime TCA dogs vampires based on movie The CW french mission: impossible Heroines The Arrangement FOX 73rd Emmy Awards Polls and Games south america ABC Family TCA 2017 HFPA king arthur Trivia Animation casting name the review justice league Masterpiece Vudu 24 frames BET Action medical drama Cosplay Mary Poppins Returns social media Spike Podcast series