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

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