This shark might have lost its bite.
Kate (Berry) is a shark expert whose business has been failing since a shark attack killed a fellow diver under her command. Once dubbed "the shark whisperer," Kate is haunted by the memory of the attack and unable to get back into the water. With bills piling up and the bank about to foreclose on Kate's boat, Kate's ex-boyfriend Jeff (Martinez) presents her with a lucrative opportunity: lead a thrill-seeking millionaire businessman on a dangerous shark dive…outside the cage. Battling her self-doubts and fear, Kate accepts the proposal -- and sets a course for the world's deadliest feeding ground: Shark Alley.
Dark Tide started out pretty solid. You get the set up with Halle Berry's Kate going through a traumatic event where pine of her long time mentors/divers is tragically killed through a shark attack. The event finds her struggling to get her life back together, and struggling to keep her business afloat. It's a fantastic set up, and one that just lost its momentum after her character accepts the diving offer from a rich tycoon.
There simply isn't enough time for her resist and then accept the offer from Ralph Brown's Brady. There's no real contemplation of the offer, and even more important the feeling of just how bad Kate's struggles are weighing down her. To get a character to do something they don't want really requires them hitting nearly rock bottom; Kate never gets that far, regardless of how the characters around her describe it. So, the believability of her 'needing' to take Brady out to swim with Great White sharks in an environment that she knows is overly dangerous, and against her gut feeling, isn't felt by the audience. It's almost as if the filmmakers were rushing to get to the action, when they should have been methodically building to that point.
When the movie finally gets to the point where all hell breaks loose, then you're already out of it as an audience member. It just feels empty by the end of the film. You don't feel bad for anyone, and you don't feel a real sense of terror from the situation. You basically saw it coming a mile away. It just all feels very rushed and that's unfortunate, because shark movies are a chance for the situation to develop slowly. Movies like Deep Blue Sea and Jaws do this sort of build very well. You understand that the odds are very much against the characters by the end of the films. With Dark Tide it just feels less of a surprise and more empty. There's almost no suspense or terror at the end.
That's the point of shark films; suspense and terror. When you don't have those, then you don't have a good movie. And regretfully, Dark Tide's predictability, emptiness and shallow build equal out to a movie that needed a bit more writing and time. Big names can certainly sell seats, but good stories make the movies memorable.
Having said that, the Blu-ray portion of the film is gorgeous. I consider Lionsgate one of the few studios who gives a damn about its Blu-rays; regardless of how popular or unpopular the movies might be. They are the studio that seems to break out the good wine at all their parties, not just the important ones. Dark Tide does a fantastic job of bringing a clear, sometimes dark (necessary) perfect picture to this Blu-ray. You get very clean reds, blues, blacks and everything in between. If my eyes aren't deceiving me, I think this movie was shot with video, which makes this an even more miraculous HD job. On top of great video, the audio is darn solid coming in at 5.1 DTS-HD.
As for features, outside of trailers you get nothing else. It's a shame, as I would have loved to hear commentary from directors and writers. Regretfully, there's nothing there.