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Blood Tide (1982)
Neil Grive (Martin Kove) has big hair, a big boat and short shorts. He and his wife Sherry (Mary-Louise Weller) take that boat to a small island of the coast of Greece in hopes of finding Neil's estranged sister, Madeline (Deborah Shelton). Upon their arrival the couple is greeted by Nereus (José Ferrer), the not so friendly mayor of the island town who looks at the picture of Madeline that Neil carries with him but offers no help or clues.
That night, while poking about town, Neil and Sherry actually come Madeline who happens to be hanging out with a treasure hunter named Frye (James Earl Jones). He's a hard-drinking man who quotes Shakespeare and greets Neil with a knife to the throat. Madeline calms him down and they talk, but it's clear Frye doesn't trust these intruders any more than he trusts the natives. The next day, the four of them hang out alongside Barbara (Lydia Cornell), a beautiful woman that Frye is quite fond of. Around the same time, Frye detonates some explosives in an underground cave, destroying a wall and letting out…. something. Soon enough, Neil's boat his hit ‘something' in 300ft of water and been damaged, stranding them on the island until that can get fixed. This coincides with a local girl going missing, which doesn't sit well with Nereus.
As time passes, Barbara gets killed, Madeline discovers something strange with the icons she's been restoring, much to the dismay of local nun Sister Anna (Lila Kedrova), and the local customs begin to see increasingly strange to all involved.
A little slow in its pace, Blood Tide remains plenty watchable thanks to some interesting ideas and a pretty solid cast. It's amusing to see Martin Kove all bushy-haired and wild here, he makes a likeable enough hero even if his character isn't fleshed out particularly well. Mary-Louise Weller is fine as his wife, nice enough, but there's nothing to her character here at all. James Earl Jones steals pretty much every scene he's involved with, not quite chewing the scenery but getting nice and close at times. Lydia Cornell doesn't have all that much to do here except to look good, but she does that very well indeed while the lovely Deborah Shelton, who also sings the song over the closing credits, plays the zoned-out sister well enough. José Ferrer's role is a supporting one but he too is pretty good here.
The second half of the movie picks things up quite a bit, upping the ante by embracing the supernatural angle of the story and introducing more horror and tension than the first half of the movie contains. The picture is better for it and moves towards a conclusion that never quite fires up as much as you want it to, but which still proves reasonably satisfying.
Arrow Video brings Blood Tide to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer from a "brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative." Framed at 1.85.1 widescreen, the transfer is taken from elements that were clearly in very nice shape as there isn't much in the way of print damage here at all. Detail is quite good in the lighter scenes, but can understandably get a little fuzzier when things go underwater or into dark caves. Overall, though, this looks really good. Skin tones are fine, colors are defined really nicely without looking overly boosted or oversaturated and black levels are good. No compression issues and the transfer looks properly filmic throughout with no noticeable noise reduction having been applied.
The English language LPCM 2.0 audio, which comes with optional subtitles in English only, is clean, clear and easy to follow. The score sounds decent and there are no problems to note with any hiss or distortion related issues. It isn't a super complex track but it suits the movie fine and gets the job done with no problems.
Extras start off with an audio commentary track from Troy Howarth. He covers all the bases here, such as how this sequel came to be, Curtis' career and specifically his involvement in the production, Matheson's contributions, what works and what doesn't as far as the quality of the film goes, the actors and actress that are case in the film and lots more.
There's also a brand new audio commentary with director/co-writer Richard Jefferies. In this track, Jeffries talks about how he got into filmmaking, his training and education, how he came to work with Mastorakis on Blood Tide, what it was like collaborating with the cast and crew on the picture, how he had no involvement in the post on the film, how he feels about the picture in hindsight, thoughts on the screen play and more.
The disc also includes a newly-filmed interview with producer/co-writer Nico Mastorakis entitled Swept By The Tide where he talks about how and why he tends to genre hop within the film industry, the work he did for Paramount in the seventies and why he split from that studio, what the indie film scene was like when he started out in it, where the ideas for Blood Tide came from, collaborating with Richard Jeffries on the film, the locations used for the picture and quite a bit more.
Also included on the disc are two theatrical trailers, menus and chapter selection. This release comes packaged with some nice reversible cover sleeve art as well as, for the first pressing only, a limited edition color insert booklet containing writing on the film by Mike Gingold as well as cast and crew credits for the feature and notes on the presentation.
Blood Tide is no lost masterpiece but it'll hold your attention thanks to a fun cast, some great location work and a few interesting ideas. Arrow's Blu-ray release is solid, presenting the picture in very nice condition and with a few good extras too.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.