The Black Demon
This shark flick sorta bites.
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For some reason I have it in my mind that I dig shark movies despite the fact I often dislike ‘em. “Jaws” is my favorite horror movie of all-time (and it is in fact a horror movie). I also vibe with “Deep Blue Sea” and “The Meg” and am hype for this summer’s “The Meg 2: The Trench.” “Open Water” and “The Shallows” are decent enough single-serve shark flicks. I negatively reviewed recent shark movies “Great White” (here) and “Maneater” (here). Now swims up “The Black Demon” (in select theaters beginning Friday, April 28 including Indianapolis-area locations Tibbs Drive-In, Regal Village Park, Regal UA Galaxy and Emagine Noblesville) … another stinker.
Home Depot spokesman Josh Lucas stars as American oil executive Paul Sturges. Paul’s been commissioned to travel to Bahia Azul, Mexico to investigate his employer’s rig off the coast. He figures he’ll kill two birds with one stone by checking out the platform and taking his family on vacation. Paul’s wife Ines (Fernanda Urrejola, “Cry Macho”) is Mexican-American and he wants his children Audrey (Venus Ariel) and Tommy (Carlos Solórzano) to learn more about the other half of their heritage.
Paul stashes his family at a local cantina when venturing out to the rig. They’re immediately accosted by El Rey (Raúl Méndez) and his henchman (Arturo Duvergé). The encounter prompts the trio to follow their patriarch to the platform.
Turns out the rig and most of its crew have been decimated by our titular megalodon. The only survivors are Junior (Jorge A. Jimenez), Chato (Julio Cesar Cedillo) and Chato’s adorable pooch. The Sturges family and these two men will now need to team up to escape the platform and this murderous megalodon.
I was excited for “The Black Demon” as I really enjoyed director Adrian Grunberg’s previous films “Get the Gringo” and “Rambo: Last Blood.” This despite the fact that Grunberg’s movies do disturbingly tend to portray Mexicans as either sinners or saints with no middle ground or nuance … and “The Black Demon” is no exception.
I wanted Grunberg to employ the same badass bloodletting that marked much of his “Rambo” outing … to no avail. The shark is rendered through poor CG, there’s not nearly enough attacks and the ones we get aren’t nearly graphic enough.
The script by “Star Trek: Discovery” staff writer Carlos Cisco and Boise Esquerra is nothing to write home about either. It has a worthwhile environmental message, but it’s all so very on the nose. The characters are largely unlikable save for Tommy, Junior, Chato and Chato’s dog. Lucas, who holds a lure to straight women of a certain age (my wife among them), is far less Jake Perry from “Sweet Home Alabama” and far more Leo Beebe from “Ford v Ferrari” here. I was actively rooting for him to get eaten.
This shark flick sorta bites. Here’s hoping “The Meg 2: The Trench” is better.