Opening with a sinister and satanic ritual sacrifice and an equally ominous voice over explaining the ancient practice, Blood Tide is an examination of superstition and religion and the thin line between the two that can be easily broken if someone delves too deep into the depths of the past.
Set on a remote Greek island newlyweds Neil and Sherry (Martin Kove from the Karate Kid series and Mary Louise Weller from Animal House) take a detour from their honeymoon to search for Neil’s missing sister Madeline (Body Double’s Deborah Shelton).
Finding her living with ditzy boat loving Barbara (Lydia Cornell) and enigmatic amateur archaeologist Frye (James Earl Jones) she has become disturbingly obsessed with uncovering a potentially blasphemous religious icon she discovered in the islands monastery.
Already uncovering a much darker depiction of the mythical story of George and the Dragon hidden under a conventional biblical painting she is convinced there is a much older image still hidden and diligently works away causing the nuns to worry for her soul and her brother and his bride to fret about her fragile mental state.
Far more worrying however is the centuries old cave that Madeline has helped Frye find hidden underwater and containing a bricked up doorway that the Shakespeare quoting cynic is set upon breaking down. Unaware that this is the site of virgin sacrifices Frye pursues his own personal agenda unwittingly unleashing a horrifying beats long buried and now hungry for flesh.
Co-written and directed by Richard Jefferies Blood Tide is a slow burning horror that builds up momentum forfeiting frights for character development and story. This works at times especially when it is exploring the link between myth and religious beliefs and pitting the unfriendly and unknowable islanders, led by the magnificent José Ferrer playing the mayor Nereus, against the terrified tourists.
The main cast are so-so but fighting against the tide of mediocrity is the legendary James Earl Jones. Best known for his voice work in Star Wars and The Lion King its easy for a modern audience to forget his immense screen presence and the gravitas he brings to all his roles including this one. A complex and conflicted character it is a shame Frye is not the full focus of the film however every scene he is in elevates Blood Tide above expectations.
In regards to the blood thirsty beast the realisation and design are sadly lacking however Jefferies is clever enough to only show glimpses of the monster relying on rip off Jaws underwater point of view shots and red churning waters to up the tension and distract from the limited special effects.
Overall the tale is not as involving or engaging as it could be causing the movie to drag at times however fans of monster flicks will find the religious musings amongst the slayings inject Blood Tide with originality and the whole movie is worth watching for James Earl Jones performance alone.