Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 16, 2020)
If we refer to a film as “forgotten”, that implies people knew of the movie in the first place. This doesn’t seem to be the case for 1982’s Blood Tide, a flick that appears to have gone completely unnoticed back in the day.
That happened despite a cast with well-known actors such as James Earl Jones and José Ferrer. This 2020 reissue gives us the chance to decide of Tide deserved it obscurity.
Set on the Greek island of Synoron, the story opens in ancient times. Back then, the natives sacrificed virgin girls to placate a violent sea monster.
In modern day, Neil Grice (Martin Kove) and his new wife Sherry (Mary Louise Weller) arrive on Synoron to search for his missing sister Madeline (Deborah Shelton). They find a largely deserted location, one that elderly local Nereus (Ferrer) warns them to leave.
Nonetheless, Neil and Barbara soon discover Madeline, as she spends time with the mysterious Frye (Jones), a treasure hunter. Frye’s activities awaken the dormant ancient monster beneath the waves and this sets off a crisis that may again necessitate sacrifices.
Based on that synopsis, I can find no reason to believe Tide couldn’t become a solid mix of action and horror. The basic story seems sound and comes with the potential for excitement.
Alas, that plot offers pretty much the only positives I can muster about this terrible movie. Despite a good basic concept, the film fails.
Which makes it a waste of a fairly solid cast. While Jones and Ferrer were – and remain – the most notable members, some of the others enjoyed pretty decent careers as well.
This means that unlike most low-budget 1980s flicks of this sort, Tide doesn’t stick us with a group of nobodies. Heck, with Jones, Ferrer and Lila Kedrova in the mix, we get three actual Oscar nominees – and two winners!
Although this adds a patina of quality to the production, everything about Tide smells bargain basement – especially the ancient monster at its core. As we learned from Jaws and Alien, a horror movie doesn’t need copious shots of its lead monster to succeed.
However, we should get at least a reasonable amount of time with said creature, and the creation should seem believable. Neither holds true for the beast at the heart of Tide.
In terms of quality, the monster looks terrible. At no time does it feel even vaguely believable, so it seems more likely to inspire laughs than screams.
Perhaps due to its poor quality, the monster rarely appears on-screen. We get a handful of fleeting shots and nothing more, a choice that seems likely to alienate genre fans,
Instead, we tend to get “first-person” views when the monster attacks. These blatantly steal from Jaws and fail to churn any scares or tension.
Tide comes with an inherently simple story but it jumbles the tale into incoherence. We barely get to know any of the characters and the film leaves many of them behind too much of the time.
Narrative beats frequently make no sense, and various actions occur with little logical explanation. The whole package feels cobbled together from bits and pieces of other movies.
No one ever manages to tie together the various elements, and this leaves Cut as a scattershot mess. Even by the standards of low-budget 1980s horror, it flops.