Horrifying Underwater Scenes That'll Make You Swear Off Swimming Forever

Aquatic horror has a special place in the seasonal pantheon, and that's firmly planted in the hot summer months. What good is beach season, after all, if you can't scare the wits out of would-be swimmers? 

There are many, many, many wonderful entries into this very specific niche, but not all terrifying underwater scenes come from horror movies. After all, the very notion of what scares us is purely subjective. So while the opening of "Jaws" may make some swear off the beaches forever, others may be horrified by Nemo's kidnapping in "Finding Nemo," or chilled to the bone by the realistic terror of the ocean igniting in "Dunkirk." Maybe certain moments in "The Abyss" make your blood run cold, or it's the gnashing maws of super-smart sharks in "Deep Blue Sea" that sets you on edge. 

No matter your preference, with 30 nightmarish scenes to choose from there's something here to make anyone swear off swimming forever.

The flare in 47 Meters Down (2017)

After the cable holding their diving cage snaps and drops sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt) the titular "47 Meters Down," the duo must find a way to return to the water's surface without becoming shark snacks or developing a case of "the bends," a decompression sickness that is caused by rapid changes in pressure while scuba diving. 

Armed with a handful of flares to signal for safety, the two swim up to the 20-meter mark, where they are instructed by Captain Taylor (Matthew Modine) to wait for five minutes, allowing the nitrogen in their bloodstream to decompress in order to avoid the bends. Waiting means they're an easy target for sharks, but not waiting runs the risk of fatal decompression sickness. The two are essentially underwater sitting ducks, forced to reject the survivor impulse to swim away. 

When one of the flares goes out, Kate goes to light a second one, accidentally dropping it. After scrambling to light their third and final flare, the water around them is illuminated to reveal three sharks surrounding them. The moment makes for a perfect jump scare, and a reminder that danger may be closer than imagined. (BJ Colangelo)

Walking the plank in Alligator (1980)

Sure, "Jaws" may have provoked mass hysteria when it comes to the apex predators of the ocean, but "Alligator" brought a fear of gigantic reptiles to our own backyards. More aptly, this film instilled a generational paranoia about checking your pool for semi-aquatic carnivores before carelessly jumping in. 

Unaware of the gigantic gator that's currently stalking the city of Chicago, a group of kids decide to play pirate in the backyard. They take a hostage to walk the plank (i.e. jump off the diving board into an in-ground pool), forcing the young kid to plummet to certain doom. As mom switches the pool lights on, it's revealed that the monstrous alligator has been waiting for an unwitting kid to dive right into its gaping maw, and boy, does it get what it waited for. As the chlorine water turns deep red, the little pirates run for their mother. These kids are going to have to pay a fortune in future therapy bills, and mom is going to have to pay a pretty penny to have the pool cleaned. 

Take this as a warning to watch out for the common pool gator. (Natalia Keogan)

The barracuda attack in Finding Nemo (2003)

Pixar has never been afraid of playing with an audience's emotions; their films will have you uproariously laughing one second and sobbing like a baby the next. That emotional whiplash is in full effect in the opening minutes of their 2003 masterpiece "Finding Nemo." You have this lovely scene between Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Coral (Elizabeth Perkins), eagerly anticipating becoming parents for the first time with a mountain of eggs waiting to be hatched. Then ... a barracuda shows up.

The expression of utter terror that paints Coral's face burns itself on your brain, and then she looks down at all of her eggs beneath her. All you can feel is pain because you know exactly what is going to happen — neither she nor any of those baby fish is not going to make it. This is heavy stuff to start a film ostensibly made for children, but Andrew Stanton and the folks at Pixar know that kids not only can handle wrenching material like this, but that they should. 

This is how Pixar has been able to bury themselves inside the hearts of millions for decades. Pure emotional honesty (with a side of gut-wrenching dread) is all you need. (Mike Shutt)

The bottom of the well in The Ring (2002)

Wells: they're meant to be a source of life, a place from which good health springs forth. Only, it's hard to see them as anything but death traps in a post-"The Ring" world. Gore Verbinski's adaptation of the J-horror film "Ringu" taunts audiences with images of a terrifying well from the beginning, but investigative journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) finally gets an up-close look at the haunting set piece in the movie's climax.

Rachel is looking for signs of the malevolent spirit Samara when a swarm of insects knocks her into the well. At the bottom of the cavernous structure, she finds herself in cold, dank-looking waist-high water. This would be a perfect moment for a jump scare, but "The Ring" works because it values its story as much as its frights. Instead, viewers see Rachel make a disturbing discovery: she finds the severed fingernails of a child, which Samara lost while attempting to climb out of the well her adoptive mother threw her in. 

Then comes the jump scare, as Rachel touches what turns out to be a wave of long, black hair, and Samara pulls her into the depths of her mind. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

Alex Kintner's death in Jaws (1975)

In 1975, "Jaws" set the gold standard for aquatic horror movies with its hungry shark antagonist. Perhaps the most upsetting of the shark's victims is the young Alex Kintner, who meets a violent, untimely end in front of a crowd of horrified beachgoers — including his own helpless mother. 

Alex happily makes his way to the sea after begging his mother for just a little more time in the water, unaware that his life is about to come to a horrible, graphic end at the hands — er, teeth — of the movie's villain. While nothing seems amiss at first, it becomes clear that things are about to take a turn for the absolute worst as families and friends splash around and socialize, completely unaware of the danger lurking in the deep. Shortly after the tell-tale theme alerts the audience to imminent doom, poor little Alex becomes an afternoon snack as he's snapped up by the shark. 

It would have been scary enough to just imply that Alex was killed by the shark, but director Steven Spielberg upped the ante by having the boy's gruesome death play out on screen, making it all the more tragic and upsetting. (Deshawn Thomas)

The rising water in What Lies Beneath (2000)

In Robert Zemeckis' haunted house horror film "What Lies Beneath," the marriage of Claire (Michelle Pfieffer) and Norman (Harrison Ford) is under some serious supernatural strain. After multiple weird events and an attempt at contacting any potential ghosts, Claire becomes convinced that the couple's house is haunted. She eventually discovers that the haunting has something very personal to do with her husband, and the couple's shaky marriage turns murderous when he tries to drown her in the bathtub. In a movie with mostly supernatural scares, the most horrifying moment comes at the hands of a human.

Norman drugs Claire so that she's paralyzed and puts her in the bathtub, turning on the faucet and stopping the drain. The camera follows the height of the water as it rises, steadily going above her mouth and then her nose. She can't move to get out, though she desperately tries to turn off the water with tiny movements of her foot. It's a terrifying climax in an incredibly tense film about infidelity and broken trust, and it's absolutely impossible to forget. (Danielle Ryan)

Paul gets disarmed in Underwater (2020)

It's a real shame that more people didn't pay attention to "Underwater" when it hit theaters in 2020 as it was an effective horror flick set, as the title implies, underwater. Sure, one could easily drown in a movie set thousands of feet under the sea, but Paul (T.J. Miller) meets a far more grim fate in the film. 

Early in the crew's attempted escape after catastrophe rocks the underwater facility, the survivors are trying to make their way to safety through a precarious route. Paul is the last of the bunch to go through the mess. Just when we think he's safe, an unseen entity grabs his arm and pulls him back under. Even though they manage to get his helmet back on, this creature literally rips his arm off, leaving his helmet to fill with blood. 

Not only does Paul die mere moments after believing he's safe, but his death serves as a terrifying omen for everyone else who made it through: the water is the least of their concerns. (Ryan Scott)

Looters get chomped in Crawl (2019)

Alexandre Aja arrived on the scene with extreme horror movies like "High Tension" and the remake of "The Hills Have Eyes," but pivoted towards a fun, mildly campy animals-attack aquatic horror movie with the Sam Raimi-produced feature "Crawl." The film follows a daughter desperately trying to save her father in the middle of a hurricane, where thanks to flooding, very hungry alligators have begun to swim into living rooms, bathrooms, basements, and gas station mini-marts. 

In one of the film's most horrifying moments, a group of meddling kids hellbent on looting an evacuated convenience store meet their match when an alligator hunts them down for a snack of its own. The troublemaking trio is brutally devoured by a gator, with one victim slammed against the building's glass paneling while his friend helplessly watches. As the water levels rise, the gore-hungry gators have the upper hand and the final looter meets his demise inside the flooded store, surrounded by floating bags of Cool Ranch Doritos as a painful reminder of what an idiotic risk they all took by looting, when they should have just evacuated the area. (BJ Colangelo)

Nancy's attack in The Shallows (2016)

Blake Lively might not be a conventional scream queen, but she certainly imbues every moment of "The Shallows" with the utmost underwater dread. Playing a surfer named Nancy, Lively is tasked with carrying most of the film on her own, her co-stars primarily being an injured seagull aptly named Steven Seagull and the 23-foot great white shark who has bitten them both. 

Arriving in Mexico and ready for a surf-fueled vacation, Nancy wastes no time traveling to a secluded shore perfect for catching waves. After being led to the beach by some locals, she jumps right into the water with her surfboard. As an enormous wave begins to curl behind her, the shadowy visage of an enormous shark is visible. In a matter of seconds, Nancy is thrown from her board by a gargantuan force — one that takes a considerable chomp out of her leg while she's submerged in the water. Seeing a bloated whale carcass nearby, she swims to safety. Her hands dig into the soft flesh of the decaying corpse as she pulls herself out of the water. Thankfully, her gross gamble pays off as she narrowly escapes the shark's jaws ... at least, for now. (Natalia Keogan)

The ocean's aflame in Dunkirk (2017)

Whenever people discuss the worst ways they could die, there is always some debate about which is worse: being burned alive or drowning. Well, in Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk," one character has to answer this question in real-time. The boat carrying a group of soldiers escaping from the titular beach capsizes in the Strait of Dover. Not only do all the men end up in the water, but the attack causes an oil spillage to be lit aflame. One unlucky soldier ends up actually having to choose between the two horrible deaths, as he gets trapped underneath the sea of fire. Ultimately, the strain of holding his breath becomes too much, and he chooses to burn.

"Dunkirk" looks to be an almost entirely experiential time at the cinema. Nolan is not all that concerned with character or story here, just putting you in the terror of that moment in history. This man who dies is a character we do not know, and because of his namelessness, we put ourselves in his place. His dilemma and pain are ours as well, making the scene all the more terrifying and tragic. (Mike Shutt)

Camp attack in Piranha (1978)

Joe Dante's solo directorial debut has all the trappings of a late-70s B-movie, from topless women in peril to genetically engineered creatures. In this case, it's a batch of especially rabid piranhas that were designed during the Vietnam war as part of a program called Operation: Razorteeth. Like all of Dantes' greatest hits, "Piranha" likes to throw some comedy in with its horror, but when the razor-toothed fish prey on unwitting summer campers, the movie gets truly gory.

The scene comes around the film's climax when the creatures have been unleashed in a local river. They come upon a group of young campers and their counselors, who are lounging around in inner tubes and on paddleboats. Before they know it, they're fish food. The sequence goes on and on, with the piranhas chomping at the behinds and limbs of a bunch of screaming kids. Suzie (Shannon Collins), a camper who had been lounging on the shore, is their only hope, but she ends up no match for the superpowered fish, who drag counselor Betsy (Belinda Balaski) down to the depths in front of her eyes. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

Nancy takes a bath in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

It's easy to evoke terror when it comes to larger bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans. It's another thing altogether to make the bathtub, a space for cleanliness and relaxation, the backdrop for horror. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" managed to do just that with the scene where the tranquility of Nancy's (Heather Langenkamp) bubble bath is interrupted by the unwelcome presence of none other than Freddy Krueger. 

As Nancy drifts off to sleep while soaking in the tub, which is already pretty dangerous on its own, Krueger's talon-gloved hand reaches up between the sleeping girl's legs, providing one of the most stomach churning visuals in horror movie history. Worse still is when the monster pulls Nancy beneath the water into an unexpected abyss. The surreality of the shallow bathtub becoming a sea of doom coupled with the nauseating wrongness of Krueger's presence makes this scene particularly frightening. Of course, it probably goes without saying that the idea of a surprise bathtime visit from a sadistic, supernatural pervert is enough to terrify most people, so it's no surprise that the iconic bathtub scene makes the list. (Deshawn Thomas)

Eli stands up to bullies in Let the Right One In (2008)

Sometimes love hurts ... everyone else. In the Swedish vampire film "Let the Right One In," a vampire who looks like a young girl named Eli befriends a lonely boy named Oskar, and that friendship blossoms into young love. Eli, played by Lina Leandersson, has endured many years of trauma hiding out as a child vampire, moving from place to place before people notice the bodies stacking up. Oskar, played by Kåre Hedebrant, is a shy child who gets bullied by the other kids quite a bit, but he finally sticks up for himself by throwing a rock at one of them and splitting his ear.

The bullies swear revenge and lure Oskar to a swimming pool, where the bully with the split ear proceeds to hold Oskar underwater. The camera stays with Oskar, held down by the bully's arm, as Eli unleashes havoc on Oskar's tormentors. A pair of feet kick as they go down the pool's length, held aloft by some unnatural force, and the sounds of screams are muffled by the water. By the time a severed head falls into the pool, it's clear that Eli's true nature has revealed itself. (Danielle Ryan)

David Dunn almost drowns in Unbreakable (2000)

M. Night Shyamalan followed up his all-time great thriller "The Sixth Sense" with a very different movie in "Unbreakable," which sees Bruce Willis playing a man named David Dunn who discovers that he is seemingly invincible. But every superhero has a weakness, and when Dunn discovers his in the film, it's terrifying in its simplicity. 

It takes a rock from a far away planet that is in limited supply to hurt Superman. Dunn, meanwhile, nearly drowns in a pool, something so common to suburban life. The scene, as it unfolds, shows a man reckoning with his newfound powers and discovering that he is not indestructible. Something as simple as water can take him out, and given that he survives a trainwreck earlier in the film, we simply don't see this coming. The scene manages to terrify by bringing this hero right down to Earth. Any of us can fall victim to something like this, even perhaps the strongest man in the history of humanity. (Ryan Scott)

Abandoned in Open Water (2003)

Shark movies as a whole have been justly criticized for promoting violent hate of these impressive creatures, fueling a cruel poaching culture that has culled a vital component of the ocean's ecosystem. While similarly rooted in the innate fear humans have of finding themselves in a shark-infested sea, "Open Water" decided to take a more realistic approach. 

Based on the real-life tragedy of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, a couple from Texas that was accidentally abandoned by their boat on a scuba diving trip in Australia, "Open Water" features real sharks, eschewing the industry standard of using mechanical or CGI renderings. However, the film first builds dread without showing any aquatic life at all. 

After deciding to visit the Caribbean on a relaxing vacation, American couple Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) decide to embark on a group scuba diving trip. But they find themselves straying from the rest of the group, and when they resurface, they can't find anyone ... or the boat they rode out on. As it turns out, the boat's crew conducted an incorrect head count, so they believed all the passengers were back on board. Clearly, they were very wrong. (Natalia Keogan)

Nemo gets taken in Finding Nemo (2003)

In the opening scene of "Finding Nemo," Marlin ends up getting knocked out and wakes up to find his family massacred. This is not the case in the scene where his sole surviving kid Nemo ends up getting fishnapped by some divers after he defiantly swims out to a boat. Marlin sees this play out right in front of his eyes and is utterly helpless to do anything about it.

From Marlin's perspective, this is entirely his fault. His overprotective nature caused Nemo to rebel harder than he ever would had Marlin been cognizant of Nemo's want for a little breathing room. Few things would be more traumatizing to a parent than seeing your child snatched out from under you, and while all the kids are probably terrified at the gigantic human that enters the frame, the parents in the audience can only see themselves in that situation and feel scared for their own kids. Marlin encounters plenty of scary things along his journey to find his son, but none measure up to that initial loss. (Mike Shutt)

The abyssal trench in 47 Meters Down (2017)

The silent horror of the abyssal trench scene in "47 Meters Down" proves that, sometimes, nothing is scarier than ... well, nothing. While the 2017 horror film lacked a lot of things that can make you like a movie, such as interesting and likable characters, it makes up for this by placing these bland, generic characters in increasingly terrifying underwater situations. 

After two sisters go cage diving in shark-infested waters only for the rope tethering them to safety to collapse and leave them stranded 47 meters below the surface of the ocean, they must contend with sharks, a dwindling oxygen supply, and their uncertain fate in order to survive. If that isn't awful enough, one of the sisters is forced to leave the relative safety of the cage in order to increase their chances of being rescued. Eventually, she finds herself in an endless nothing. Even though she's aware of the sharks that are undoubtedly swimming somewhere nearby, she can't see anything except the vast, dark body of water that engulfs her. 

The visuals of the scene drive the point home that she's nothing more than a speck in the watery void, and the impact is nothing short of visceral terror. (Deshawn Thomas)

Setting a trap in It Follows (2015)

"It Follows," from writer and director David Robert Mitchell, is essentially a slasher that works kind of like an STD. The unnamed entity only follows one person at a time, slowly walking towards them until ultimately killing them. They can save themselves by passing the curse onto someone else by having sex with them, but if that person dies, the curse reverts back on down the line. Maika Monroe plays a teenager named Jay who catches the curse and sees someone slowly walking towards her each day, no matter where she runs. The entity takes many forms, often from the person's life, but only those touched by the curse can see them.

Jay and her friends make a plan to kill the entity by luring it into a swimming pool using Jay as bait and then filling the pool with plugged-in electronics. The entity shows up in the form of her dead father and starts throwing the electronics right at Jay in the center of the pool. The camera goes above and below the water as she and her friends try to contend with the invisible monster, and soon the pool is red with blood. (Danielle Ryan)

The opening scene of Jaws (1975)

"Jaws" is not just one of the best creature features ever made, but one of the best movies of all time. It invented the summer blockbuster and cemented Steven Spielberg as a master cinematic storyteller. The movie doesn't take long to make that evident as we focus on a couple of young people having fun at the beach, with the unsuspecting Chrissie (Susan Backlinie) inviting a young man to go skinny dipping. Unfortunately for her, there is something lurking beneath the water that we never really get to see. 

This poor woman is dragged under the water while having some relatively innocent fun. It's made all the more horrifying because we don't see the looming threat, but beyond that, Spielberg makes it crystal clear that if someone is going to die mere minutes into the film, nobody is safe. The audience, as a result, is on edge for the rest of the movie. It also made lots of people think twice before setting foot in a large body of water, cementing this as a masterstroke of an opening scene. (Ryan Scott)

Death by drainage pipe in The Final Destination (2009)

The "Final Destination" franchise is home to some of the most inventive and interesting kills in all of horror history as if someone mainlined the entirety of "1000 Ways To Die" and turned it into a slasher film. In the fourth installment, "The Final Destination," audiences are finally given an underwater kill, continuing to prove that Death has one sick sense of humor. 

Taking a page out of Chuck Palahniuk's book of short stories, "Haunted," and a common urban legend, Hunt Wynorski (Nick Zano) ignores his friends' warnings that death is coming for him and dives to the bottom of the community pool to retrieve a lucky coin. Unaware that the pool's drainage pipe has been activated by the Rube Goldberg-appreciating Death, the suction of the drain grabs hold of Hunt, and keeps him submerged under water. In the world's suckiest coincidence, the suction vent perfectly aligns with Hunt's anus, and despite his attempts to swim away, he is eventually disemboweled, with his innards exploding through the pipes and onto the pool's surface. The audience knows his death is imminent, which makes watching him struggle to break free all the more harrowing. (BJ Colangelo)

Mad dash for the boat in Crawl (2019)

Animals in horror films typically abide by two simple labels: the consumers and the consumed. Oftentimes, horror movies will feature a cute, lovable little creature only to have it gobbled up by a fearsome predator. In Alexandre Aja's 2019 film "Crawl," the film's protagonists do just about everything in their power to keep the family pooch from being devoured by a feeding frenzy of American alligators. 

After a Category 5 hurricane besieges a Florida community, University of Florida swimmer Haley (Kaya Scodelario) eschews evacuation mandates to check on her dad Dave (Barry Pepper) and make sure he's not foolishly sticking around. Unfortunately, her dad's house has been overtaken by floodwaters — and a gaggle of gators that have found their way inside. This makes Dave and his loyal dog's escape all but impossible, but Haley's here to help. After a harrowing fight for survival (and plenty of gator-related injuries), Haley, Dave, and the doggie escape the house and see a motorboat in the distance. Using her swimming talents, Haley makes a break for it, narrowly missing the jaws of several alligators during the most impressive race of her life. Thankfully, it looks like this dog — and its human companions — will live to see another day. (Deshawn Thomas)

Nightmares on the ocean floor in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)

Something a lot of filmmakers forget when creating these giant action blockbusters is how effective using horror elements can be in creating tension for the big set pieces. Steven Spielberg knows this better than anyone. Just look at "Jaws," "Jurassic Park," or "War of the Worlds." Another director fully willing to freak his audience out in the service of big-budget popcorn entertainment is Gore Verbinski. Obviously, his big breakout was the horror film "The Ring," so when he came on to direct Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," it was only natural to bring some of that horror with him.

This is best utilized in the scene where all of the cursed, undead pirates covertly attack a ship by walking under the water. For one, this scene heeds to Alfred Hitchcock's rule of suspense. Show the audience what is about to happen without letting the character's know. Beyond that, the uneasy image of a group of skeletons forcefully walking along the ocean floor would be frightening enough on its own, as it's something never seen before. (Mike Shutt)

Michel resurfaces in Les Diaboliques (1955)

Though it doesn't always get the credit it deserves, the 1955 French film "Les Diaboliques" is the blueprint for many of the horror films that have made waves since. Henri-Georges Clouzot's twisty, formative thriller is especially effective in its use of water as a method of provoking fear. In it, a cruel schoolteacher named Michel's (Paul Meurisse) meek wife Christina (Véra Clouzot) and mistress Nicole (Simone Signoret) plot to kill him, though all is not as it seems.

Water haunts "Les Diaboliques" throughout its runtime, as the two women dispose of Michel's body in a pool but are later startled to find his corpse never resurfaced. The film's most primally scary moment, though, happens in an even smaller body of water: a bathtub. After being subjected to what seems to be a relentless haunting, Christina sees something her heart can't take. It's Michel's waterlogged corpse, rising uncannily from her murky, water-filled bathtub. It's an indelible image that was surely terrifying in the '50s — and still shocks in 2022. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

Burke loses his head in Lake Placid (1999)

"Lake Placid" is a movie that offers mostly cheap thrills and, perhaps more than anything else, is known for helping to revitalize Betty White's career. But the movie does offer at least one truly remarkable moment in its runtime, and that is the death of Burke, played by Jed Rees. 

During a particularly tense sequence, several of the film's potential victims are submerged in the lake with the gigantic crocodile seemingly ready to emerge at any moment to rip one of them underwater in "Jaws"-like fashion. One by one, the divers are plucked out of the water and the audience is certain that one of them is going to be pulled under. In a pretty brilliant and brutal bit of subverting expectations, as Burke is readying the boat so they can leave, safely on board, the beast leaps out of the water and bites his head clean off. It's something few people saw coming, which is what makes it so effectively scary. (Ryan Scott)

The tunnel flood escape in Deep Blue Sea (1999)

If you haven't yet learned from reading this list, the water is a dangerous place. That's why, in "Deep Blue Sea," the cast of characters desperately try to climb six stories up an elevator shaft to escape their flooded, underwater research facility. The scene is a clear homage to 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure," but with shark-infested waters, the stakes are even higher. 

As the team tries to climb to safety, explosions throughout the facility cause the ladder to break, forcing them all to play a life-or-death game of "don't fall off the monkey bars." Unfortunately, marine biologist Janice Higgins loses her grip and falls into the water, as the rest of the team watches helplessly. When it's assumed that Janice has become shark food, the impossible happens: a shark jumps out of the water, with Janice in its mouth, resembling the worst possible outcome of a shark show at SeaWorld. Shark wrangler Carter Blake tries in vain to pull Janice to safety — but alas, her fate is to flail in the maw of a shark.(BJ Colangelo)

A temporary drowning in The Abyss (1989)

James Cameron loves his water. Something about the unknown in the depths of the ocean keeps drawing him back to the water time and time again. Even his upcoming "Avatar" sequel will be heavily water-based. 

The first time Cameron got to work with water on a massive scale was in 1989's "The Abyss." Working with that much water (combined with an incredibly demanding director) was hell for basically everyone involved, but their hard work did result in some very memorable sequences. Chief among them is the scene in which Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's Dr. Lindsey Brigman decides to purposefully drown herself in the arms of her estranged husband (Ed Harris) in order to make it back to their ship.

Mastrantonio perfectly plays the shift from steely determination to outright panic so beautifully. One can never know the full extent of sacrificing oneself until those final few seconds. The scene where she gets resuscitated is ... a little ridiculous, but after seeing her go through so much pain in her drowning, you definitely hope that isn't her actual ending. (Mike Shutt)

''There's no sharks here'' in The Shallows (2016)

In 2016 horror movie "The Shallows," Blake Lively plays a resourceful surfer named Nancy Adams who has the worst beach trip ever. Not only does she suffer some embarrassing intercultural faux pas, but she also has her sun and surf disrupted by the presence of an almost comically vengeful shark who is hellbent on circling the rock she finds herself marooned on until it can sink its rows of jagged teeth into her. 

In the meantime, though, it's happy to chomp on whoever is unlucky enough to venture into the deceptively beautiful waters. While Nancy is resourceful enough to keep herself alive, she's unable to save the two local surfers who unwittingly try to catch some waves. Although she's dehydrated, badly injured, and lacking intermediate Spanish speaking skills, she desperately tries to warn them about the presence of the shark, begging them to turn back to the safety of the shore, screaming "SHARK!" and "GET OUT OF THE WATER." Unfortunately, they don't realize the danger they're in until one of them is already shark food, and the other joins him in the shark's belly soon after. All Nancy can do is behold the horrific scene as their demise bloodies the water. (Deshawn Thomas)

The big reveal in The Prestige (2006)

Christopher Nolan will always be remembered for "The Dark Knight," but "The Prestige" may arguably be his finest hour, as the thriller about dueling magicians serves as a masterclass in not just having a big twist ending, but one that truly serves the story. 

Hugh Jackman's Robert Angier is so obsessed with besting Christian Bale's Alfred Borden that he goes to extreme lengths to cook up the greatest illusion mankind has ever seen. This involves some forbidden science and, come the end of the film, we learn that this contraption he got from David Bowie's Tesla has actually been cloning Robert every single time the illusion is performed. To avoid having multiple versions of Robert running around, the previous clone is dropped into a tank of water and drowned each time a new one is created. Earlier in the film, Michael Cane's Cutter told Robert that drowning was like "going home," which made Robert feel that this was okay. However, Cutter only told him that in the moment to comfort him. Instead, the Robert clones are put through agony over and over again, all for the sake of an illusion, making the implications of the big reveal utterly disturbing. (Ryan Scott)

Terror on the ocean floor in Jaws (1975)

Before the great white shark takes a famous bite out of our heroes and their boat in "Jaws," Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Brody (Roy Scheider) investigate another shark-demolished boat. This one belongs to local fisherman Ben Gardner, whose bloated, freaky corpse Hooper discovers after diving down to the wreckage. The sight of Gardner's floating head, with its mouth gaping and one eye seemingly yanked out by its roots, causes Hooper to scream and drop his flashlight to the ocean floor.

It's an excellent jump scare for audiences, too. The scene works thanks in part to John Williams' famous score, which here is subtle and inquisitive until the big reveal. Not only is poor Gardner's head the stuff of nightmares, but the scene also effectively reminds viewers just how much water can impede a quick getaway. If "Jaws" is a slasher with a shark killer, the chase sequences are all the more frightening thanks to the claustrophobic pull of the underwater setting. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

The empty shackle in One Last Dive (2013)

Jason Eisener is one of the most fascinating people working in genre today, known for "Hobo with a Shotgun," "The ABCs of Death" segment "Y is for Youngbuck," the "V/H/S/2" segment "Alien Abduction Slumber Party," the viral Christmas slasher short "Treevenge," and the utterly brilliant Vice series, "Dark Side of the Ring." 

As part of the Vice and "The Conjuring" collaboration event, "The 3:07 AM Project," Eisener was selected to contribute a micro horror short, delivering the absolutely terrifying "One Last Dive." In just one minute and nine seconds, Eisener crafts an absolutely perfect jump scare surrounding divers investigating a crime on the water, and pays clear homage to one of the best moments in "Jaws." The short film was so effective there were rumblings of a potential feature, but alas, the project never came to fruition. Fortunately, "One Last Dive" is available for free online for anyone who feels the need to experience the same jolt provided by the lawnmower scene in "Sinister," but underwater. (BJ Colangelo)