With the release of The Meg only a few days away, the director admits that plenty of "bloody" footage has hit the cutting room floor to secure a PG-13 rating. R-rated movies like Deadpool 2 may manage to provide big box office draws, but The Meg was always going to be a lower-rated film, with Warners Bros. behind the distribution for the movie. Despite this, Jon Turteltaub is confident the sci-fi horror will still satisfy fans of the genre and pushes the envelope for PG-13 films.
The Meg is based on Steve Alten's hugely popular literary franchise, and sees a prehistoric Megalodon shark surface in the modern world. At one point assigned to horror director Eli Roth, the project spent substantial time in development hell before Turteltaub stepped onboard to helm the production in 2016. The cast headlines action veteran Jason Statham (The Fate of the Furious) as diver Jonas Taylor, who has encountered the creature before and is desperate for some payback. Other actors also appearing include Ruby Rose, Rainn Wilson, and Li Bingbing. Although completed in 2017, the film suffered a substantial release delay to the present date.
With a plot that owes so much to the classic Jaws, and with modern fish-based exploitation movies like Piranha 3D throwing so much gore around, it will be interesting to see the levels of bloodletting in The Meg. According to Turteltaub, the film could have easily turned into an R-rated excursion with plenty of horrific deaths being shot, but this cut will never be seen. Speaking to Bloody Disgusting he said:
"My wife is glad about it and I’m glad my kids can see the movie, but the number of really horrifying, disgusting and bloody deaths we had lined up that we didn’t get to do is tragic... We shot or even did a lot of visual effects for [gory scenes]… We just realized there’s no way we’re keeping this PG-13 if we show this. It’s too fun a movie to not let people who don’t like blood and people who are under, say, 14 years old into the theater. I was very hesitant to cut out a lot of blood and gore. I wouldn’t have if I thought it was wrecking the story but it wasn’t."
The director is keen to point out that the shark-related mayhem is still intense and works great as it stands, but he obviously has some tongue-in-cheek condolences for hardcore horror fans. The more extreme scenes which have been excised will never appear on unrated or extended versions in the future, as the visual effects were never completed. As he added, "No one’s going to be spending millions of dollars just to have a little extra bonus footage.” He also teases a more graphic death for one of the leading characters that was toned down for the final version.
While it's easy for mature viewers to knee-jerk and worry about censorship, it's worth bearing in mind that genre classics like Jaws and the original Poltergeist had the equivalent of PG-13 ratings back in the day. The sheer size of the shark is what's going to provide the scarier elements of the sequences, with cage divers swallowed whole. The Meg was never going to be about tons of severed limbs or other gory images, and Turteltaub is confident it's "still right on the edge" for it's rating. Hopefully he will be proven correct when it opens later this week.
Source: Bloody Disgusting
- The Meg (2018) release date: Aug 10, 2018