These are my picks for the top animal attack movies. Some of these selections are fanciful, but I’ve tried to pick movies that were more realistic than giant apes or lizards attacking cities.
10. Arachnophobia (1990)
“Arachnophobia” is a cautionary tale about the impact of invasive species.
In the movie, a large poisonous spider is accidentally transported in a crate from South America to a small California town. The deadly spider mates with a local spider and soon the town is overrun with the venomous arachnids.
“Arachnophobia” was directed by Frank Marshall and stars Jeff Daniels and John Goodman.
9. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
“The Ghost and the Darkness” is based on the true story of two lions in Africa that killed 130 people over a nine-month period in the late 19th century.
The movie stars Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer and was directed by Stephen Hopkins.
8. Piranha (2010)
Shown theatrically in 3-D, “Piranha” is a campy B-movie with a hard R-rating for nudity and bloody, gory piranha attacks.
“Piranha” is a remake of a 1978 movie of the same name that was itself a takeoff on the shark attack blockbuster “Jaws.”
The new “Piranha” stars Elisabeth Shue and Jerry O’Connell and was directed by Alexandre Aja.
7. Anaconda (1997)
Another fanciful pick, “Anaconda” is good B-movie fun.
It’s about a “National Geographic” film crew on a quest to capture the world’s largest and deadliest snake.
The movie stars Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz, Ice Cube and Owen Wilson. It was directed by Luis Llosa.
6. Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Of Unknown Origin” is an underrated thriller about a man who’s terrorized by a large rat in the brownstone home he’s renovating in New York.
It stars Peter Weller and was directed by George P. Cosmatos.
5. The Edge (1997)
The Edge” is a wilderness survival movie that features men terrorized by a grizzly bear.
It stars Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. “The Edge” was written by David Mamet and directed by Lee Tamahori.
4. Open Water (2003)
“Open Water” tells the story of two divers accidentally left behind by their tour boat in shark-infested waters. It’s loosely based on a true story.
The movie was directed by Chris Kentis.
3. Grizzly Man (2005)
Grizzly Man” is a documentary about amateur grizzly bear expert Timothy Treadwell who was killed along with his girlfriend in October 2003 by a rogue bear in Alaska.
The film was directed by Werner Herzog.
2. The Birds (1963)
The Birds” tells the story of a small Northern California town where birds suddenly start attacking people.
1. Jaws (1975)
Jaws” is the granddaddy of modern animal attack movies. Director Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller about a massive great white shark transformed the summer movie-going experience.
Recap: Top 10 animal attack movies (and critical response, according to Rotten Tomatoes)
- Jaws (1975), 100% positive reviews
- The Birds (1963), 95%
- Grizzly Man (2005), 93%
- Open Water (2003), 72%
- The Edge (1997), 59%
- Of Unknown Origin (1983), NA
- Anaconda (1997), 38%
- Piranha (2010), 75%
- The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), 51%
- Arachnophobia (1990), 85%