Hitting Australian cinemas a couple months shy of another anticipated Meg movie, The Black Demon falls short of mediocrity with a blend of pulpy mythological horror and environmental awareness.
Directed by Adrian Grünberg (Rambo: Last Blood) and starring Josh Lucas (trading Red Dog for a Megalodon shark) The Black Demon tells the story of Paul Sturges (Lucas), who brings his family along for a working trip, winding down a decommissioned oil rig offshore of Mexico. Along the way they encounter unwelcoming locals, an environmental disaster and the wrath of nature’s fury. The film leans heavily into these well established tropes but remains forgettable against the pantheon of past B films that do it better.
A vaguely interesting thread running through The Black Demon is Paul’s arc, as events reveal his hidden lack of integrity. Paul is not so much the clean, hard working everyman his family thought him to be.
Supporting cast include veteran character actor Julio Cesar Cedillo (Sicario), Luis del Valle (Ovni) and Fernanda Urrejola (Cry Macho) as Ines, Paul’s wife. However, none can elevate the film with any stand out performance.
The blandest part of this production is in the visual effects, hardly worth the fifty million price tag. The titular monster looks like it is rendered in Unreal Engine 4. Underwater scenes share a similar fate, as the same murky and black peripheral filter is used repeatedly to simulate the characters swimming in oil polluted underwater scenes.
Each attempt to escape this sinking ship falls flat. Characters are slowly picked off and chummed up in typical shark movie fashion, these on screen deaths are as unmemorable as the characters themselves. The Black Demon is a hundred minute snooze fest that occasionally floats a chewed up limb or two, but is as exciting as a sunbathing seal. This one is 3/10, late-night movie material where you fall asleep tired and unfulfilled before the credits roll.