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  • Justin Louallen

The Black Demon - Written Movie Review


***CONTAINS SPOILERS***


Tonight I'm reviewing the second megalodon shark film of the year, The Black Demon, directed by Adrian Grünberg and stars Josh Lucas, Fernanda Urrejola and Julio Cesar Cedillo.


An oil company inspector named Paul Sturges (Josh Lucas) travels with his family to a small town in Baja California to check out an oil rig offshore. While investigating the small town and noticing that it's abandoned, Paul and his family end up getting stuck on the oil rig after the locals start causing trouble and also encountering a giant megalodon shark that is out to kill them as well.


Now here is a little backstory. The movie was directed by Adrian Grünberg who also directed Get The Gringo (which I have not seen yet) and Rambo: Last Blood (which I felt was such a pointless entry in the Rambo franchise and the worst of the series). I didn't know much about this film coming out other than seeing a trailer for it on Facebook and just based on the trailers, it seemed like it was going to be like the more serious version of 2018's The Meg, which I found a descent film, but still had wasted potential on what it could've done, especially with not having an R-Rating. The funny thing is that this movie come out first and then the sequel to the Meg came out later and after upon seeing both films, I can honestly say that The Black Demon was a lot worse than I thought it was going to be and is one of the worst shark films I've ever seen in my life.


Pros:


The only pro I will admit is that there are some descent shots of the shark underwater that are rendered pretty good for the effects they use for it, but that is the only pro I will give the movie.


Cons:


Where do I even start with this piece of crap? To begin with, this whole premise doesn't even feel like a shark film. The majority of the movie is dealing with Josh Lucas and his family stranded on this oil rig and feels more like watching Deepwater Horizon with the shark only showing up on screen for like 10 or 20 seconds at a time very far in between. This becomes really evident in its pacing that feels painfully slow in which there's a lot of boring family problems and exposition dialogue about the oil rig company with the intentions it had for Josh Lucas' character and also getting into ridiculous territory involving some kind of sacrifice that must be done for the shark that makes the plot of Jaws: The Revenge sound more plausible (Yes I said that and I hate Jaws: The Revenge with a passion, but even that film knew not to go into its original idea of voodoo that the novelization mentioned why the shark was wanting revenge).


I heard that this is based on a Mexican legend about the shark being the god of rain called Tlaloc, but even with this kind of premise, it's poorly executed with how it tries to blend everything together and it also starts ripping off Paul Greengrass films where it does awkward zoom-ins and being shot like a low-budget SyFy version of Captain Phillips.


The acting is also terrible. I have liked Josh Lucas in the past with movies he was in like American Psycho and Ford v Ferrari, but here he comes across as not only really bland and phoning it at times but overacts along with the other family members that gets into too much melodramatic territory that I felt no emotion or cared at all. The rest of the cast doesn't fair any better. The worst one I thought was the son who starts out being incredibly annoying and then in the last act of the film he acts like he's a robot with such dry and emotionless delivery of his lines. Not to mention, much like we get in a lot of horror films with cliches, he makes a stupid decision on trying to go in the water and almost gets himself killed when no one is watching him. Plus, toward the end, Josh Lucas makes a decision to try to kill the shark without telling his family and the way his wife just goes along with it after he tells her I found completely unbelievable.


With this being a shark film, it barely has any deaths onscreen that are noticeable. The beginning was already at a bad start where these two guys get killed and when you see the underwater death of one of them, it was so poorly shot that it just rotated the camera around showing a splash of blood and not getting any kind of idea what is going on with the scene. In addition, the other deaths are either cutaways or in one case, it shows a body being pulled out that seemed like it just ripped off Lake Placid with how it was ripped in half and the effect looked pretty bad too. This really wasted the R-Rating with not even being able to take advantage what is expected in a giant shark movie with any good suspense, tension, or death scenes.


Also, what was up with the score in the movie? It felt like I was hearing a wannabe Thomas Newman-type scoring the film, but it sounded out of place and was more like listening to a stock made-for-tv Lifetime drama.


Overall, this will go down as one of my least favorite shark movies along with Shark Night, Jaws: The Revenge and Deep Blue Sea 2 and will definitely be on my worst of list this year.


Final Grade:










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