Blackfish (2013) Review

Blackfish is a scary movie. Not in the traditional sense, where a demonic force continues to harass or torment or a serial killer chases attractive woman around large houses, but in a way that is much more jarring. Blackfish is scary because the story behind it is true and nothing seems to be changing because of it.

Blackfish exposes the dangers of working with killer whales, particularly at Seaworld in Florida. Over the course of it’s 90 minute runtime, it tells various horrible, true stories of killer whales turning on their trainers, violently and often with horrific circumstances.

The killer whales are scary creatures to be working with


What makes the movie even more scary and truly unbelievable is that often this is caught on camera, as actual footage to be witnessed. The documentary isn’t forced to rely on recreations or talking head accounts but instead shows the events in their original, usually home footage, format.

That isn’t to say there isn’t talking heads, from previous trainers, recounting their close-calls or fear for others to representatives from Seaworld and other organisations that try to debunk as much of the film’s evidence as possible.

The use of real-life footage makes any arguments against seem invalid


The movie does a very good job of presenting the story of the events that have occurred, starting with the captivity of a killer whale known as Tilikum, that will be one of the many killer whales to play Shamu. The various tales of deaths and attacks make for shocking but strangely compelling watching, particularly with the amount of footage that is available.

What makes the story even more incredible is that very little seems to be done at Seaworld considering the amount of evidence that is mounted against them. The attempts to justify the killer whales behaviour or try to explain the events that have occurred are often laughable. It makes for an even more shocking documentary considering that people are still working with the whales that are kept in captivity, considering the amount of deaths that are occurring.

Considering the amount of deaths, its amazing that people are still comfortable working with the animals


Of course, it is a one-sided documentary and even though it presents Seaworld’s counter-arguments, it does so in such a way that clearly undermines their views and opinions. It is very difficult to see how they could be wrong when you see some of the footage first-hand.

Overall, Blackfish is a truly shocking documentary that presents a very real and very scary situation that seems to still be occurring. It contains experts, witnesses and most compelling of all, actual footage of the horrible events the trainers of killer whales are caught in. Most shocking of all will always be the lack of any change these events have actually brought about.

Rating – 4

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

The truth of the deaths is what makes the movie so scary



3 thoughts on “Blackfish (2013) Review

  1. Really upsetting, the way most documentaries should be. However, it seems like this is the rare one that may actually get some business done. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see. Good review.

  2. The good thing about this documentary though is that it had more impact on Seaworld than the deaths themselves ever did. Because of this documentary they have been having some trouble with signing up bands to perform there and had to put a lot of effort in improving their image. Which of course won’t happen if they stop working with these animals….

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