The Meg (2018) was directed by Jon Turteltaub and is loosely based on the 1997 book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten. The comparisons to 1975’s Jaws are obvious and difficult not to make as it’s clearly been influenced by the Spielberg classic. That said, I sat down and watched this film (again) this evening and I realized I’d never written up a review for the site. Like Jaws, I’m not sure this would qualify as a ‘horror’ in the traditional sense of the word but it’s got enough scares and adrenaline inducing scenes in it that I feel very comfortable covering it here on Scaretissue.
The Meg stars Jason Statham (at his most Statham-ist), Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis as a group of scientists who encounter a 75-foot-long megalodon shark while on a rescue mission. It grossed over $530 million worldwide and was successful enough to where a sequel, titled Meg 2: The Trench, is scheduled to be released next August (2023).
SPOILER ALERT: Even though I won’t be doing a full plot review, this review will talk openly about the plot of the film. If you haven’t seen it and you want to be spoiler free go check it out and come on back afterword.
Somehow The Meg is rate PG-13. I’m not quite sure how they pulled it off as it’s FULL of blood, gore and deaths. I can only imagine it was right on the cusp of getting an R rating but I have to say the film really doesn’t suffer from it’s rating. There’s plenty of nasty here for fans that are looking for that and for parents who think this is a nice little walk in the park entry flick you may want to think twice for younger viewers.
The Meg – Plot and Thoughts
I’m going to give you a quick copy/paste from IMDB just to put some plot in here to react to:
Five years ago, expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered an unknown danger in the unexplored recesses of the Mariana Trench that forced him to abort his mission and abandon half his crew. Though the tragic incident earned him a dismissal from service, what ultimately cost him his career, his marriage and any semblance of honor was his unsupported and incredulous claims of what caused it – an attack on his vessel by a mammoth, 70-foot sea creature, believed to be extinct for more than a million years. But when a submersible lies sunk and disabled at the bottom of the ocean – carrying his ex-wife among the team onboard – he is the one who gets the call. Whether a shot at redemption or a suicide mission, Jonas must confront his fears and risk his own life and the lives of everyone trapped below on a single question: Could the Carcharodon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive – and on the hunt?
So there you go… pretty thin on plot, but when you think about it, so was Jaws. I’ll try not to make reference to that flick again but like I said, the comparisons are difficult not to make. Where this film falls down is the dialog between characters and some of the motivations / choices they make. That being said, let’s just be honest with ourselves. No one is here to see the humans. This is all about THE MEG.
As far as monster go, I’m not quite sure I could dream up something quite so real-ish and terrifying as a 70+ foot shark. I think that’s what sets this apart for me. Sure Jason and Freddy are scary in their own right but I think we all watch those movies and just sort say ‘bah, that couldn’t happen’ even if it’s just in our subconscious. But the Meg ‘COULD’ be real. It’s just close enough to make it that much scarier.
Along the way we get mercenaries, boats, helicopters, guns, depth charges, other fish and, as I said in my intro, more Statham that you know what to do with. Last comparison to Jaws… I promise. If there’s one place where this film is superior its in the pacing. Jaws was really sort of slow. Not here. This is FAST paced from the word go and really doesn’t let up, throwing in some twists along the way.
The Meg – Recommendation
This is a remarkably fun film to watch. It knows what it is and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you’re rating shark films on a scale from Jaws being the most serious to Deep Blue Sea being the silliest, this is somewhere in the middle, but closer to Jaws.
The kills are great, the Meg itself is really impressive and there’s just something about a monster movie that takes me back to those films when I was growing up and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. There’s certainly some contrivances here and you’ll have to suspend disbelief from time to time but let’s be honest – what horror or action film doesn’t ask the same of its audience?
The Meg is a flick that I’ve come back to several times since I originally saw it and I always have a good time with it. Definitely a recommend in my book even if it’s not the heaviest or most realistic shark flick out there.
Have you seen The Meg (2018)? Tell us what you think in the comments below!