Dark Tide (2012)
By: Devon B. on August 4, 2014 | Comments
Transmission Films | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) English DD 5.1 | 109 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: John Stockwell
Starring: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Sizwe Msutu, Mark Elderkin, Ralph Brown
Screenplay: Ronnie Christensen, Amy Sorlie
Country: USA
On the cover of Dark Tide is a shark fin and above that is Halle Berry in a bikini. Could it really be a movie about a bikinied Berry battling big sharks? Well, kinda. Mostly it's about boating.

The film opens with a white pointer, so I was immediately expecting great things. Berry is a shark studier in Seth Efrika, and she is that that unique sort of person that flirtatiously hits guys like she was still 12. Once she's done smacking people, the group get in the water. Berry's into free diving with the sharks, and I remember seeing a guy on Shark Week years ago that got out of the dive cage when there were white pointers around. He just would approach the sharks as they came to investigate him, and they'd back off. He got back in the cage when the number of sharks got too large to keep an eye on at all times, but he was fine. So the idea of free diving didn't bother me too much because I'd seen it done for real. However, Berry likes to free dive and snorkel. Now, I also recall on Shark Week from many years ago that there was a guy who found himself in the water with a white pointer and it was tense but okay until he blew some water out of his snorkel. The guy said this was too similar to the way that seals blow air on the surface, and the shark went for him after he did it. Maybe there have been more developments in snorkel technology in the years since I've seen a Shark Week, so maybe snorkelling with sharks is now practical, but I found myself thinking free diving was one thing, but snorkelling was a stupid idea. That might all seem tangential, but a big deal is made in the movie of how Berry does this shit, so I figure it's worth mentioning. Anyway, while in the water Berry's right hand man gets eaten and then she feels bad, probably because she used to slap him.

One year later and she's now conducting tours in the area, but ones that make a point of avoiding sharks. She's in financial trouble because who wants to go all the way to Seth Efrika to go on a tour that doesn't have white pointers, but she holds her moral ground until she gets suckered into doing a shark tour for a rich dickhead that has intentions of getting out of the dive cage. Eventually, some other stuff happens, but not a lot of stuff, and when I say eventually, it takes a long time to even get up to the point in the movie I was just describing. I know that sounds a bit thin as a story, and that's because it is.

Dark Tide appears to have been written for 13 year old girls, but they're not the target audience for a shark movie, I am, so this was a dumb way to skew the film. Instead of a barely clad Berry I got a mostly covered up Berry, uninteresting characters with go nowhere storylines, and forced as fuck exposition. Berry's character is perhaps meant to be manic depressive, which would explain things a little, but overall she's unconvincing in her role, though to be fair she's not given a lot to work with. The movie needed to be at least 20 minutes shorter, and even then it wouldn't be that good. At least the shark footage is usually well done, but there wasn't enough of it to hold my attention. In fact, the only people I could make a solid recommendation of Dark Tide to are fans of wildlife cruises, because along with the sharks the movie takes time to observe penguins, dolphins and seals. So, people that like all four types of animal might love it.

Dark Tide felt a bit like Open Water for tweens, but it takes even longer to get the people into the water. Dark Tide has about as much depth as a paddling pool, and not enough sharks to make me overlook the rest of the movie's flaws.
The Disc
Dark Tide looks clear and clean and the image is sharp, but it's not in its original aspect ratio. There were a few oversaturated shots, but that's not a persistent problem, and aside from a little edge enhancement, there's not much to complain about with how the film looks. The film has a few murky sequences where things could easily have gotten muddled with a lesser transfer, but this disc handles those bits well. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is like the film in that it's nice and clear. There're some good little touches to enrich the soundscape, so the viewer is immersed in bubbles, crashing waves and the sound of wildlife. It's not the most exciting track because it takes ages for anything big to happen, but that's not a fault of the transfer. As for extras, there's nothing. This is a less than bare bones nothing, as there's not even a chapter selection from the menu, it's just play movie or nothing. There might as well not even be a menu, then.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Dark Tide is poorly written drivel with irrational characters that have little to no motivation for their actions. I'm giving the movie an extra point for a series of shark facts at the end of the credits that highlight the need for conservation of these animals, and I consider that very important. Because the film's not in its OAR I also have to give the DVD the thumbs down, but people who don't care about aspect ratios might not mind the ratio change and the transfer is otherwise good.
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