It seems like these cheap-looking monster movies like The Meg are being churned out often these days, especially since the weird success of the Sharknado series . I really didn’t mean to just use shark movie examples here, but honestly, there’s always been an audience for this kind of movie. The Black Demon is no different, except it doesn’t seem to know what it is.
I’m not saying the movie is a mixture of different genres and doesn’t know which to stick with. It just takes itself seriously, with little humor to it. It doesn’t offer much action and the scenes that are supposed to be suspenseful, feel manufactured.
The Black Demon had the potential to be intriguing, but unfortunately, it falls flat on multiple fronts. The initial premise of the story held promise, but as the film progresses, it becomes evident that the execution leaves much to be desired.
What could’ve been an engaging narrative ultimately descends into a ridiculous affair. One of the most frustrating aspects of The Black Demon is the heavy-handed nature of its environmental message. The movie resorts to forcefully shoving its Mother Nature-centric ideology down the viewers’ throats, ultimately detracting from any enjoyment one might have derived from the film. If you want to make a movie about some evil mega-corporation, such as those of the oil industry, that’s fine. It can be made good and fun. Here it does neither.
Paul Sturges (Josh Lucas) works for an oil company. His job is doing safety inspections. He takes his family to a small Mexican town where they can vacation while he also inspects an offshore oil rig. He’s oblivious to the situation on the rig.
Lucas delivers an average performance, which seems about right for this kind of movie. He knows he’s not going to win any awards here. Sturges’ wife Ines (Fernanda Urrejola) and their children end up in the mix. They were supposed to stay back and relax in the small town, but thanks to a lazy deus ex machina, they end up on the rig too.
Urrejola’s earnest efforts fail to salvage the movie, and the rest of the cast appears disinterested and lacking in genuine emotion. Again, in movies like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone caring enough to really try.
The inspection was supposed to be a quick in-and-out look around. Sturges finds he’s bitten off more than he can chew, as everyone except two guys has left the rig, there’s oil dumping out by the gallon underneath… oh yeah, and there’s a giant Megalodon swimming around.
The CGI in The Black Demon is a mixed bag. There are moments where it manages to work, but on the whole, the visual effects are subpar. I’d say they fail to meet the expectations, but who are we kidding? The few good spots that look good are a surprise of their own. Rather than enhancing the viewing experience, the inadequate CGI becomes distracting. The movie suffers from a sense of cheapness. Whether it’s evident in the production design or the overall execution, The Black Demon feels like a low-budget endeavor that lacks the necessary polish. The resulting experience is one of disappointment and a constant reminder of the film’s shortcomings.
I think this is why the movie hardly focuses on the shark and more on the family. We see their struggle; trying to figure out what’s going on, why it’s happening, and how to get back to the mainland. It could also be the director. Maybe he wanted to capture the same experience that we got in Jaws, by hardly showing the shark.
The Black Demon fails to live up to its potential due to various shortcomings. Josh Lucas delivers a passable performance and Fernanda Urrejola tries, but overacts. The lackluster acting from the rest of the cast hampers the film’s overall impact. The interesting premise falls victim to poor execution, resulting in a boring and silly narrative. Additionally, the underwhelming CGI and cheap production value further diminish the movie’s appeal.
Ultimately, the excessive and forced environmental message becomes more of a nuisance than a thought-provoking element. Sadly, The Black Demon is a disappointment that fails to deliver a satisfying experience.
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