Spooky Movie Thrillers with Dolphins

We all know at least one scary shark movie but what about the dolphins. They could be scary too. This list is not about films like Flipper or Free Willy or Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. These are scary or at least spooky dolphin movies that are based on fictional horror, suspense, or thrillers about a disgruntled dolphin or a dolphin in a suspenseful situation. Only fictions on this list.

Day of the Dolphin (1973)

Day of the Dolphin is based on the 1967 French novel “Un animal doué de raison” (Eng. “A Sentient Animal“) by Robert Merle. The 70s film is more of a science fiction thriller than a horror movie. A marine biologist teaches for years two dolphins to communicate with him giving them a limited vocabulary of English. Then a corrupt espionage corporation and their research lab kidnap the dolphins to cohort the dolphins to commit a political assassination. The story was a satire about the Cold War. It was also parodied by The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror XI.

Trailer for Day of the Dolphin (1973)

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

A cyberpunk film taking place in the year 2021 is about a mob courier with a man with a cybernetic brain implant in his head designed to store data has to carry a large amount of data from a team of scientists at the expense of his childhood memories. He must complete his delivery on time while avoid being hunted by the Yakuza or risk severe psychological damage. The dolphin part is a bit of a spoiler has an ex-Navy computer hacker that could help Johnny. It’s an odd science fiction action thriller often found on worst movie lists.

Trailer for Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Orcas (1977)

Orcas are a type of dolphin in the dolphin family; therefore they count. The film is also called “Orca: The Killer Whale”. This film is often compared to Jaws due to the similarities to the plot but it’s also very similar to Moby Dick. A sea captain who catches marine animals for an aquarium to pay off debts, a mortgage and a trip back home harpoons a killer whale thinking it was a male whale but ended up being a pregnant female whale. The heartbroken male killer whale hunts down the sea captain seeking vengeance for the death of its mate.

Trailer for Orca (1977)

The Big Blue (1988)

The original French title is “Le Grand Bleu.” The film is mostly visual and stylistic than a straight narrative story. This style is known as the Cinéma du look which was popular in the 1980s and 1990s French filmmaking. The director of this film, Luc Besson was known for this style in this film and others. The film is not truly spooky but a visually packed one. The rivalry between world-renowned free divers is a heavily fictionalized tale of Enzo Maiorca and Jacques Mayol. It takes place from their childhood to their death. There are dolphins within the dives and referenced throughout the film.

Trailer for The Big Blue (1988)
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