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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 38.89%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap50%

2 reviews, 6 user ratings

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Blood Tide
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by Jack Sommersby

"James Earl Jones Vs. Rubber-Suit Monster"
1 stars

If you think most of today's direct-to-video stuff is bad, get a gander at this and be reminded that crap like this got released at actual theatres back in the '80s.

Finding itself in perfect company with Charles B. Griffith's Up From the Depths and Sompote Sands' Crocodile, Richard Jefferies' Blood Tide is one of those low-budget Jaws rip-offs that has neither the imagination nor the technical ingenuity to glide over its flat-out lousy scripting and substandard special effects. It's set and shot on location on a small island in Greece, however, which I guess propelled otherwise-respectable actors like James Earl Jones and Jose Ferrer to sign on for easy paychecks and free travel to an exotic locale. Then again, mouthing idiotic dialogue with a perfectly straight face can be trying for any actor, even if they're not exactly adhering to the International Thespian Society's motto of "Act well your part, there all the honor lies". One of the only real surprises to be found in Blood Tide is how slim and fit-looking Jones appears: when he dons nothing but a swimsuit, he doesn't disgrace himself. I can't aver that his performance is on par with his appearance -- as Frye, an adventurer who inadvertently releases a centuries-old monster after TNTing an underwater cave entrance in the search for treasure, the baritone-voiced Jones hams it up by highlighting his every line reading as if it were in a volume of Cliffs Notes -- yet there's a bit of semi-irresistible charm in seeing a man of his talent so obviously slumming it in such irrefutably rotten material. There's also the agreeable Martin Kove, who's usually cast as intimidating villains (his best-known stint was as the Cobra Kai Sensei in The Karate Kid), playing the hero, Neil, who's come to the the island to locate his gorgeous, gone-missing sister, Madeline (Deborah Shelton, the driller-killer victim in Body Double). But the cherry on top is definitely the voluptuous Lydia Cornell (Ted Knight's blonde daughter in the '80s sitcom Too Close For Comfort), playing Frye's daffy squeeze, Barbara, who parades around in such skimpy, so-called clothing she'd be apt to conjure up a libidinous thought in even John Ashcroft's head.

Blood Tide is the kind of lackadaisical horror film that shows gore only when it's rising to the water's surface after a victim is being decimated, that affords us only one lousy shot of the monster at the halfway mark (it looks like a human/horse transmutation from a Monty Python film), and has the galling audacity to have Barbara strip on a beach and run into the water without displaying so much as an iota of nudity! (The only nudity to be had, in fact, is a brief right-breast shot of Shelton as she's floating on a raft in the very first sequence. Boo-rah.) Worse, director Jefferies and co-writer Nico Mastorakis try to pad out the paper-thin story with a dreary subplot involving Madeline's stay in a monastery and her becoming obsessed with or possessed over serving as a human sacrifice for the monster. Whichever, the attempt at a pseudo-religious subtext makes the inanity of the proceedings even more so, especially since the scenes with the monster are direly few and far between, and the endless pregnant pauses are taken up by swill like this instead. Jefferies comes up with an adequate suspenseful moment now and again when corpses are discovered in the dark, but they're moments just about any non-lobotomized hack could pull off. What he can't do, however, is install tension, create mood and atmosphere, and move his damn film along with the steadiness of even a drunken bee. There's a germ of an idea in having the creature come ashore (unseen, of course) to chalk up some unsuspecting victims (just about both deaf and dumb, of course), but it turns out to be a vacuous one -- it's good for only one sequence, and it lacks the sense of primal terror that best-selling author Peter Benchley gave his better-developed and -utilized sea/land creature in the fine White Shark. I guess one can say in Blood Tide's defense is that, admittedly, it isn't painful to sit through. Then again, neither is an insurance seminar.

Well, you can find the bare-bones DVD of this for only a buck at Dollar Tree stores, making this a definitive example of getting what you pay for.

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originally posted: 11/21/04 12:59:32
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User Comments

7/16/11 mr.mike Gorgeous scenery. I recall a friend falling asleep in the theatre. 2 stars
4/13/09 Jack Sommersby Thanks for the heads-up. Corrected. 1 stars
8/24/08 David Fowler Bad, but the kind I enjoy. Btw, Sommersby, it's Jose Ferrer... Not Miguel! 3 stars
8/07/06 David Cohen Staggeringly inept, James Earl Jones must have needed money fast 1 stars
1/31/06 tatum Great cast...but really bad 2 stars
3/19/03 Jack Sommersby Jaw-droppingly awful. Incompetently made and atrociously acted. 1 stars
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  02-Sep-1982 (R)

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