Marcus Adams’ shark thriller film, ‘Deep Fear,’ features a survival story that blends the inherent danger of shark-infested waters with a drug trafficking hostage situation. Sailor Naomi weaves her way across the ocean, unbothered by the looming storm brewing in the distance. As such, after spotting a couple of survivors in a nearby ship wreckage, the woman doesn’t think twice before extending a helping hand. Nevertheless, the decision ends up costing her more than she thought, as the survivors, Maria and Jose, turn out to be troublesome drug traffickers. After the duo compels the woman to dive into the shark-circled ocean to fish out their drugs from underwater, Naomi must find a way to make it out of this altercation alive.
The film pitches a straightforward story about a woman’s survival, made complicated by the narcotics and deadly aquatic life that she finds herself surrounded by. Therefore, given the narrative’s grounded nature, viewers must wonder if the film holds any basis in real life.
Deep Fear Is a Fictional Story That Blends Genres
No, ‘Deep Fear’ is not based on a true story. The film pitches a riveting tale about a woman who gets caught in a dangerous but realistic scenario that remains rooted in genre conventions. Nevertheless, despite the grounded nature of the characters and the central storyline, neither has a tangible basis in reality. As a result, the events that unfold in the film can be credited in their entirety to screenwriters Robert Capelli Jr. and Sophia Eptamenitis, whose script was brought to life under Marcus Adams’ direction.
Nevertheless, despite the film’s lack of basis in reality, the storyline will remain familiar to the viewers due to the similarities it holds to other stories within the genre of shark and drug trafficking tales and their ocean-driven narratives. Several noteworthy films, such as the more mainstream, ‘Jaws,’ and ‘Sharknado,’ as well as the indie duology, ‘The Reef,’ all possess interconnected building blocks that remain intrinsic to a shark story. As such, viewers are bound to spot familiar instances within ‘Deep Fear.’
However, this film’s equipment of two genres skillfully blended into one singular story remains its distinguishing factor. Director Adams spoke about the struggles presented by the same in an interview with Bloody Disgusting and said, “In essence, it [‘Deep Fear’] was a sailor picking up people from a wreck, and then matters turning for the worse. The balancing act for me as a director was fusing a narco story with a shark story. If you get it wrong, you do not satisfy either genre strand. I felt the shark, not the narcos, had to be the star, and that was chiefly my input to the script development process. Decide who or what element is on the poster, then work backward from there.”
Furthermore, outside of genre familiarity, the film’s focus on cocaine-addled sharks— a selling point within the story— also holds ties to the newfound cultural fascination with blending the narcotic world with animal survival stories. The phenomenon can be credited to the success of Elizabeth Banks’ ‘Cocaine Bear,’ a film inspired by real-life events. Soon after the film’s release, fans were clamoring for a story revolving around a Cocaine Shark, an interest sparked by a Discovery Channel Shark Week documentary titled ‘Cocaine Shark.’
Nonetheless, the documentary didn’t actually present a real-life story about a Shark’s killing spree caused by the cocaine in its system. Instead, it brought to light how human garbage affects aquatic wildlife. When discussing the same environment engineer, Dr Tracy Fanara said, “We’ve seen studies with pharmaceuticals, cocaine, methamphetamines, ketamine, all of these, where fish are being [affected] by drugs. If these cocaine bales are a point source of pollution, it’s very plausible [sharks] can be affected by this chemical.”
While dumped-out cocaine has affected Sharks in the past— as it does other aquatic creatures— the sharks’ observed behavior hasn’t yet induced any Hollywood-worthy carnage. Thus, we can conclude that ‘Deep Fear’s’ depiction of the shark’s increased aggression, though still muted, held no relation to real life. Ultimately, ‘Deep Fear’ is an entirely fictitious story that delivers an entertaining narrative through compelling characters and situations.
Read More: Deep Fear Ending, Explained