10 Best Beach-Set Horror Movies Of All Time | ScreenRant
With June on the horizon, all eyes turn to the sunny beaches and lakefronts of summer vacation. Of course, be cautious of what you wade into this summertime because if horror movies have taught us anything over the decades, it's that creepy, crawly, slimy little critters and large flesh-eating predators lurk just below the surface. Heck, some movies like Jaws even admonish viewers "not to go in the water" at all.
That said, not every beach-set horror film features a deadly sea-monster out to murder humanity. Most do, but some also include demented slashers, coastal vampires, flesh-eating viruses, and more. So, with summertime on the brink, let's celebrate the all-time ten best beach-set horror films!
10 Blood Beach (1980)
In Jeffrey Bloom's wildly entertaining horror-comedy Blood Beach, a malefic entity dwelling underground begins gorily sucking unsuspecting teenage victims beneath the sand...forever!
Burt Young and John Saxon provide adult supervision in the film, the tagline of which openly mocked that of Jaws 2 released a couple of years prior. Indeed, "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...you can't get to it!" The film offers a refreshing variation on the horrific beach theme by making the ocean safer than the shore.
9 The Mutilator (1984)
Speaking of non-underwater monsters, the oft-forgotten 1984 slasher flick The Mutilator offers another worthy standard deviation of the theme. Dip your toe in if you haven't already!
Also known as Fall Break, the film tracks a gaggle of dimwitted teenagers seeking thrills at one of their father's beach-side abodes. But Ed (Trace Cooper) hasn't told his teenage friends about the horrific history the house harbors. As a boy, Ed accidentally killed his mother with his father's hunting rifle. Now, years later, a mysterious figure is stalking and slashing the teens one by one. Made during the slasher apogee, the film features cool beach-related murder weaponry and gore effects.
8 Open Water (2003)
To even attempt a killer shark film in the wake of Jaws is a bold endeavor, but to make one that genuinely mortifies viewers, as in Open Water, fortune certainly favors the bold!
RELATED: 15 Best Movie Sets On The Open Water
Based on a true story, Chris Kentis' film traces the harrowing experience of Susan Watkins (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel Kintner (Daniel Travis), two scuba divers who became inadvertently marooned in the shark-infested Caribbean. With nail-biting suspense and inescapable claustrophobia, Open Water is arguably the most authentic horror film on this list.
7 Jaws 2 (1978)
While none could equal much less eclipse the blockbusting original, there's little doubt that Jaws 2 is the best sequel in the long-dormant franchise. The film was criticized at the time for being a shallow retread of the Spielberg smash-hit, but history has been far kinder to the film in retrospect.
Jaws 2 more or less functions as the first, with Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) out to protect his small beach community in Amity from the second wave of Great White terror. French director Jeannot Szwarc takes the reins from Speilberg and does an adequate job of recreating the breathless tension and suspense.
6 The Bay (2012)
Barry Levinson's low-budget found-footage horror film The Bay offers a chillingly unique take on the beach-themed horror template. In the time of COVID-19, this just might be the scariest title on our entire list!
During the 4th of July weekend in the Chesapeake Bay, ordinary citizens hit the beaches for a traditional celebration. But when people start falling violently ill, it soon becomes clear that a deadly epidemic is transmitted through the water. Widespread panic ravages the town as a result, prompting a government cover-up. A supremely slept-on little thriller!
5 Orca (1977)
Of all the bald and shameless Jaws imitators released in the late '70s, Orca actually transcends the horror genre with its heartened advocacy for humane animal treatment. It's also quite terrifying in its own right!
The premise of the picture concerns a vengeful killer whale that witnesses the barbarous murder of its mate and child at the hands of commercial fishermen. Therefore, we root for the whale rather than its hunter, Captain Nolan (Richard Harris), to exact its rightful revenge. The film flips Jaws on its fins and makes us side with the killer whale!
4 Humanoids From The Deep (1980)
If you took The Creature From the Black Lagoon and Friday the 13th and threw them in a blender owned by Harvey Weinstein, you just might approximate the sick and sordid tone and tenor of Humanoids From the Deep!
When a small fishing village is suddenly overrun by a cadre of monstrously mutated half-man-half-fish creatures, pandemonium ensues. The slimy sea-beasts rape the women and murder the men in town, leaving several sophomoric teens to try and quell the incursion. Gory B-movie glory!
3 Piranha (1978)
With all due respect to the campy and cartoonish remake (Piranha 3D) and the sleazy sequel (Piranha 3DD), Joe Dante's 1978 original still outranks them both despite its minuscule budget. Less is more, folks!
Made for roughly $600,000, the plot picks up when an uncouth school of flesh-eating piranha is unwittingly released into the river-ways of several summer resorts. When the ferociously toothy fish begin feasting on the general population, widespread fear and panic ensue. In addition to Dante's directorial skill, the script by two-time Oscar nominee John Sayles is what sets the film apart!
2 The Lost Boys (1987)
Ah, Santa Carla. Those of us from the coast of Northern California know full well that the fictional beach town in the all-time '80s horror classic The Lost Boys is really Santa Cruz. Better yet, the boardwalk in the film is still alive and well!
You know the story. When Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Jason Patric) relocate to sunny Santa Carla with their single mother Lucy (Dianne Weist), their lives are altered drastically. Michael meets and falls in with a gang of bloodsucking motorcyclists, while Sam makes friends with the vampire-hunting Frog brothers. Meanwhile, Lucy is being unwittingly seduced by the head-vampire Max (Ed Herrmann).
1 Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg's Jaws is not only the most well crafted and genuinely terrifying beach-set horror film of all time, but its impact on the film industry is heftier than the three-ton beast itself!
Dubbed the first blockbuster in the film history, Jaws was the first film to crack $100 million at the domestic box-office. Despite a historically doomed production, Spielberg crafted a top-tier thriller that captivated the world over. A massive Great White shark terrorizing the shores of Amity Island completely changed the landscape of filmmaking!