Cast: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown, Luke Tyler, Mark Elderkin
Director: John Stockwell
Fordham University '15
"I am Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" -Percy Bysshe Shelley
Review By: Kieran Newton
At the top of the stack of Blu-Rays I’m to attack this summer was Dark Tide. This was not a fact about which I was overly pleased. This basically ‘straight-to-dvd’ release about sharks starring Halle Berry didn’t exactly sound like a winner. Mostly because it’s a ‘straight-to-dvd’ release about sharks (which incidentally just sort of makes me wonder what the heck Halle Berry was doing there). About halfway through, my mom passed by and asked me if it was bad. “Well, it’s not good,” was my beleaguered reply. That’s actually pretty high praise, coming from me.
One thing about this job is that it has opened me up to new lows of filmmaking that I had not thought possible (see my review of The Ceremony for full details), and it pleases me to report that, while it is not exactly a banner film, Dark Tide doesn’t really drop off the deep end, either. It just… is. It tries too hard, it flubs a number of key elements, but it doesn’t make me utterly want to turn it off. I mean, I wanted to turn it off in a “dear god what am I doing with my life” sort of way, but not in a “this movie is so bad it makes me want to kill things” way.
So, the story. We have a film crew, trying to film Berry as she swims with sharks. Like, literally. She grabs a hold of their dorsal fin and just goes with them. It’s sort of cool. But, uh oh!, one of the guys on her team dies. I saw this coming almost immediately, if only because he was the most engaging character—he had this adorable little South African accent, and was about to retire. Naturally, we had to see him get ripped in half by a shark. It’s pretty intense. Berry goes into full mourning for a year (apparently it’s 1903), and she still won’t go into the water, instead running marine tours. It… from there… I’m actually falling asleep writing this. Wow. Okay, Kieran, shape up.
Here’s the SparkNotes: money problems! Moneyed douchebag! Wants to swim with sharks! Bad accents all around! HOW BIG IS YOUR COURAGE?! Boring seals! Because he’s an asshole, let’s take him to the deadliest shark mating ground in the world! This seems like a wonderful idea! What?? People are dying? How did we not see this coming??
Every aspect of the film shares this characteristic of “just beyond the realm of plausibility and yet trying so hard to be realistic and gritty”, so that you’re left with a really strange taste in your mouth. It’s sort of like… like milk that’s about to go bad. There’s something wrong with it, but you can’t quite explain it, and regardless, it’s wholly unsatisfying. The only thing that’s done mildly well is the building of tension, which is gimmicky
I could go through a laundry list of things I found “itchy” on the annoying scale (patent pending), but it would take too long. There’s the overly-water-influenced score, the altogether too dark lighting and shaky, out-of-focus cinematography. The dialogue is, to put it nicely, crap, and the acting is a let-down. The only person I really believed was the moneyed douchebag, because I really, really hated him. Then again, I majorly disliked everyone. With him, though, I feel as though that was the intent.
As for features? What features? All that’s present on the disc besides the film is the trailer gallery! Ooooohhhh. Please.
Just…do yourself a favor and don’t buy this. In fact, do ME a favor and don’t buy it. I thought the whole “straight-to-dvd” thing was over, or relegated solely for children’s movie sequels. Please, do your part and let Hollywood know that this just doesn’t cut it. We demand higher quality entertainment.