"Blood Tide" would've been a lot better had this one actually had a more present creature in it.
Landing on a Greek island, Neil, (Martin Kove) and Sherry Grice, (Mary Louise Weller) start to search for Madeline Grice, (Deborah Shelton) his younger sister. Given permission from Mayor Nereus, (Jose Ferrer) to explore the island, they find her in the company of Frye, (James Earl Jones) a local who they immediately feel is a little off. As they spend more time vacationing on the island, they start to realize that he's spending time diving into a secret cave under the island. While there, they realize that it's sacred ground to an extinct cult that believed in a vicious creature that would be their protector, only it has gotten loose and begun feasting on the locals, forcing them to fight off the creature.
The Good News: When this one manages to, it has some rather good stuff to it. The fact that this one really takes advantage of the Greek location is rather nice, since this one really manages to really make it look great. The sun-drenched beaches, crystal-clear waters, rocky cliffs and local color are all played into greatly here, making this look really beautiful and desirable. Mixed in with this is the fact that it is rarely explored in other films is nice, since this gives it a side rarely used and all the more power as it does something that very few others have done. The underwater scenes of the creature swimming gracefully along the rocky slopes and contours allows for some more scenes to take in the location's beauty, and altogether this one is fantastic at doing that. The cave location where all the action takes place is an impressive sight, with the look of a cave hidden away in mountains and looks large enough to contain creatures of it's size rather well. That also leads into the fact that the overall plot is acceptable. The cult and it's prophecies would've been enough, but to mix it in with the mystery surrounding what they meant in those prophecies is nice. It allows for a building mystery when the different paintings and relics depicting it keep getting discovered, and from there the way the facts merge together gives it a rather nice build that really satisfies. There's even a few scenes here and there that are fun, including the sight of the really attractive victim doing their exercise before disrobing, the opening flashback to the cult's ancient practices and the one murder at sea where a witness comes face-to-face with the creature holding the victim in it's mouth with the mangled remains and a trail of blood leading away which are also quite enjoyable. These here elements work for the film.
The Bad News: Frankly, this one is a little disappointing for a couple reasons. The main fact has to be that there's hardly anything at all in the film that offers up the creature appearing. It has a cameo during the one attack when a witness sees it up close and it's visage appears on paintings and such, but there isn't anywhere else that it appears. Most of the time spent is away from the creature, and its attacks are shown while keeping it off-camera, negating any views of it. Even at the end, where they confront it in its cave lair, the camera never gives us a look at the thing. The image it gets from it's paintings and the ceremony at the beginning where it's symbolically shown with a dancer in a mask both make it out to look really nice, but there's hardly any time it appears. That is mostly due to the film's first flaw, the incredibly long time before it appears. The creature is released over the half-way point, meaning that there's over forty minutes without the possibility that it will show up. That is nearly unacceptable for a film like this, and it also throws up a few other flaws. Besides the travelogue footage, the beginning offers up nothing of real interest, since it deals with the shadiness involving the couple looking for reasons not to trust the locals. It's obvious that something's wrong, and when they find their target, which is actually surprisingly done right away rather than a long search through a small island, they spend time together with them even though they can tell something isn't right. After a search like that, it would've been obvious to get away before something happened, and these scenes are maddening for simply putting the plot together for no reason and infuriating for taking time away from the creature. That once it does come out and simply pull victims under the surface doesn't make it any more threatening. These here are what really work to hold the film down.
The Final Verdict: While not all that focused on the monster, this is still a mildly decent film, if only for the travelogue footage of Greece and other little bits. Recommended for those die-hard creature feature fans or of those who find it interesting, while those who prefer more creature action in their creature features should be weary of this one.
Rated R: Violence, Language and Brief Nudity
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