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Dark Tide (1994)

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Score: 4/10

Genre: Thriller Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: January 19th, 1994 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Luca Bercovici Actors: Chris Sarandon, Richard Tyson, Brigitte Bako, Rez Cortez, Adriana Agcaoili, Ernie Ortega, Ermie Concepcion

A

steamy erotic thriller that loses its steam about ten minutes in, this film should appeal only to fans of the stars – from such negligible projects like the “Red Shoe Diaries” movie, the television series, and the straight-to-video release “Red Shoe Diaries 3: Another Woman’s Lipstick.” “Dark Tide” has gained a slight cult following due to its obscurity on home media and lack of an official DVD release, but its redeeming factors are merely a few oddly satisfactory (and violent) action sequences and the notorious underwater cavern love scene. The hopelessly bland storyline and grating narrative warrant steering clear for anyone uninterested in Showtime-grade softcore titillation.

Andi (Brigitte Bako) joins her husband Tim (Chris Sarandon) on a tropical island to help him with the dangerous task of capturing poisonous sea snakes for their valuable venom. Andi’s flagrant sensuality attracts the attention of muscly hired hand Dak (Richard Tyson), who finds an opportunity to seduce the confused girl when Tim becomes bitterly obsessed with his faltering job. When she realizes her mistake and refuses to give in to any more of Dak’s advances, the laborer becomes jealously hostile, resorting to sabotaging Tim’s boat in order to send the diver to the hospital. With Tim out of the way, no one can protect Andi from Dak’s barbarically insatiable lust … except Andi herself.

“Dark Tide” borders on exploitation (perhaps an understatement) but attempts to mask its intent with a thin shell of action/adventure seriousness. Plenty of nudity and fake sea snakes abound, but seldom does any emotion or genuineness (other than raging libido) seep into this watery revenge drama, molded not too dissimilarly from Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs” – but with certainly less skill. Unintentional laughs are more prevalent than real thrills. Everyone manages to get sexually assaulted at some point in the film, with Bako repeatedly attacked (in an eroticized fashion by the alluring bad boy), solely to show off her one true talent – complete nakedness. Though the final sequences build a fair amount of suspense, they seem oddly out of place when coupled with the earlier mediocrity, led by severely disappointing action choreography.

The acting in “Dark Tide” suits its purpose (Bako is evidently the only one with any abilities in that department, though that is saying so little it sounds sarcastic) while stilted dialogue and a lackluster script manage to crudely detract from what could have been a heavily veiled women’s liberation piece. Tyson and Sarandon drone their lines as if reading from a teleprompter, which makes hardly any difference as attentions rarely deviate from the scantily clad femme fatale. And while Bako is easy on the eyes, her narrations at the beginning and end of the film are certainly not easy on the ears. If the pairing of Bako and Tyson in a story about sexual obsession and serpents sounds enticing, look for the unrated version with extended sequences not shown in theaters.

– The Massie Twins

 

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