The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: Dark Tide (2011)

John Stockwell

Halle Berry - Kate Mathieson
Olivier Martinez - Jeff
Ralph Brown - Brady
Luke Tyler - Luke
Mark Elderkin - Tommy
Sizwe Msutu - Walter
Thoko Ntshinga - Zukie

Genre - Drama/Thriller/Sharks

Running Time - 114 Minutes

Kate Mathieson (Halle Berry) is one of the most famous shark divers and marine biologists, especially for her work in South Africa. She's so good at her job, many consider Kate the "Shark Whisperer". Her husband, Jeff (Olivier Martinez), videotapes her exploits. However one day, one of Kate's closest friends gets murdered by a shark. The tragedy stops Kate from diving with sharks.

A year passes and her touring job is failing due to Kate's unwillingness to share her knowledge of sharks. Jeff, not seeing Kate in a year due to a falling out, returns to offer Kate a deal: a dying businessman (
Ralph Brown) wants to swim with sharks out of a cage, as well as helping his so-called wimpy son (Luke Tyler) to become a man by swimming with him. Needing the money, Kate agrees - not realizing that killer sharks are about to invade her life once more.

I have three words for DARK TIDE:


I expected DARK TIDE to be a decent thriller. I expected DARK TIDE to be decently acted. I expected DARK TIDE to be entertaining for its 114 minutes. I didn't expect DARK TIDE to be boring, uninspired, badly paced drama that I regret wasting two hours on.

What you read in the PLOT description is exactly all you get with DARK TIDE. I wish I could say the narrative was deeper than that, but it's as shallow as the characters that populate this film. The film has a decent ten to fifteen minute opener that sets up an interesting film. The last fifteen to twenty minutes play out like THE PERFECT STORM, but at least something interesting happens [too bad you can't see most of it due to poor lighting]. It's everything in between that just bring DARK TIDE down beneath the level of mediocrity. THERE'S NOTHING GOING ON FOR EIGHTY MINUTES STRAIGHT! EIGHTY FUCKIN' MINUTES! All I got were characters arguing with each other about their love lives. All I got were characters who come across as annoying - to the point where I was hoping a CGI shark would leap out of the water and just swallow them whole. All I got was an EIGHTY MINUTE set-up to an 114 minute movie that led into a modestly "thrilling" 20 minute conclusion.

What a waste of fuckin' time.

DARK TIDE could have been 45 minutes long and still would have accomplished the exact same thing. There's nothing in the dialogue that will keep you coming back for more. The characters are bland and try to have some depth, yet the character arcs don't go anywhere important. The resolution to what the opening sequence sets up is non-existent. Honestly, I have no idea what the point of DARK TIDE is. Why was it greenlit? Who thought this was good enough to distribute? Sure, Halle Berry is an Oscar winner and looks pretty good in a bikini [she's not in one as much as one would like]. But DARK TIDE has a nothing screenplay. A narrative should build to something. The story here is just static and doesn't go anywhere at all. I want my two hours back!

The direction by John Stockwell is uninspired and dull. Here's a guy who directed BLUE CRUSH and INTO THE BLUE - two films that are entertaining in their respective ways, even if they'll never be considered classics or masterpieces. But at least the direction was better than average in each film, and the stories were somewhat interesting enough to merit a feature-length film. But besides some good cinematography and beautiful locations in South Africa, there's nothing here. There's no tension. There's no suspense. The pacing is completely off. The editing, especially during the final act, isn't great. In fact, it's hard to see anything during that act anyway since the picture is too dark to make out anything. The visual presentation could have made the screenplay seem better than it actually was, but Stockwell honestly had nothing to work with. I thought the opening sequence was good, but there's no excuse for what happened with the ending sequence. Just a terrible presentation that bored the hell out of me.

The acting is just "there". Academy Award winner Halle Berry really should think about giving her Oscar back, especially if she's now starring in films like DARK TIDE. To be honest, she's the best actor by default - only because she gets the most to do. I thought her voiceover work wasn't that great though, as you could tell she was reading rather than feeling. But she wasn't the worst actress I've seen in a film. She was just unremarkable and unmemorable really. The other actors don't impress much either. Olivier Martinez was bland, only sticking out because of his French accent [which the script makes note of countless times, since moviegoers are stupid]. I believe Berry and Martinez ignited their romance while filming DARK TIDE, so I guess that's one good thing to come out of this crap. The other actors were okay, especially Ralph Brown as the douchebag millionaire, Brady. But not even the best acting would have saved this film from failing.

DARK TIDE is a waste of two hours. Besides a good opening sequence and an average conclusion [which was hard to see due to editing and bad lighting], the rest of the film falls flat on its face. The story is terrible. The direction was lazy and uninspired. And the acting was just 'there'. I really wanted to conclude this month with a great shark film, but DARK TIDE totally ruined that for me. Don't bother with this one. Let the sharks eat it so we never had to mention it ever again. What a piece of boring crap.



  1. Great write-up.

    Looks like a tough sit! Will definitely avoid this bomb.


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