It is not necessary for horror movies to have original plots to be enjoyable. A good old fashioned story about sacrificing virgins can be as fun today as it was centuries ago. This would seem especially true if James Earl Jones was the star. Blood Tide is a 1982 starring Jones, Martin Kove, and lots of women in skimpy bikinis. The movie is about a treasure hunter named Frye who accidentally frees a sea monster. This leads to a nearby island having to return to virgin sacrifices to appease the reawakened creature.
The plot is very cut and dry. Blood Tide has everything in place for a fun -if generic – movie. The rough opening sets the pace for the entire movie. Things seem to be in place for a terrifying death. Instead, the scene just ends. It is all anticlimactic.The story is also surprisingly convoluted. Instead of focusing on the monster at sea, as much time is spent on developing the relationships between the characters.
More often than not, there is nothing wrong with character development. As a matter of fact, having strong characters is a great way to get an audience invested in a movie. There are rare cases when the most superficial explanations will do. Blood Tide is one of those times. Instead, the story works so hard it world building, It is easy to forget there actually is a beast at sea.
Jones is the clear stand out of Blood Tide. Frye is a hard drinking man with a penchant for quoting Shakespeare and talking to himself. He steals every scene he is in. The movie would have been much better if Frye was the main character. The movie is also beautiful to look at. Director Richard Jefferies takes full advantage of the Greek island setting. The island village looks ancient and quaint. The beaches are like something out of a travel agency.
This helps since the story moves surprisingly slow. Despite including a number of subplots such as romantic tension and a hostage situation, Blood Tide moves at a methodical pace. The main characters seem to constantly be in a precarious situation. There is never a sense of urgency, however. That being said, the movie is very enjoyable when things pick up.
Blood Tide is proof that it takes more than just a familiar plot to make a good horror movie. Regrettably, the erratic pacing and story take away some of the fun. Thankfully, James Earl Jones is excellent. The story is also a fun one when the film takes the time to pay attention to it. Ultimately, some great scenery make this a worth watching.
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