The Sturges family vacation is more than they bargained for in The Black Demon. Paul Sturges (Josh Lucas) works for Nixon Oil – a giant oil corporation that has a rig in Mexico. Paul is in charge of safety inspections and it’s time for him to do another one in person. It just so happens that Paul’s wife, Ines (Fernanda Urrejola), is originally from Mexico. Paul’s work trip below the border is the perfect opportunity to have their children experience Ines’s culture. So Paul and Ines, along with their daughter Audrey (Venus Ariel) and son Tommy (Carlos Solorzano), head south.
When they get to town, things are far from what Paul and Ines remember. It is rundown, mostly abandoned, and all the remaining townsfolk seem to be living in fear. Thinking nothing of it, Paul heads out to the rig. Unfortunately, his family is forced to follow. That is where they first lay eyes on El Demonio Negro… or The Black Demon. The megalodon that is terrorizing the waters around the oil rig. The locals believe that the beast is the god Tlaloc making man pay for what they’ve done to those waters. All Paul knows is that his family is trapped on that oil rig, and running out of time.
Adrian Grunberg directs the film with Carlos Cisco and Boise Esquerra co-writing the script. Grunberg has a few feature length films under his belt. However, The Black Demon is the feature length debut for Cisco and Esquerra. Typically, a shark thriller doesn’t have to heavily rely on its script for entertainment. The Black Demon however has quite a bit of dialogue, and a lot of it is far from gripping. Cisco and Esquerra take the film in a direction that is not necessary. They try and throw in some twists, but mostly add character drama. Additions that most people going to see a shark movie are not longing for.
The Black Demon simply doesn’t do nearly enough. There are not enough thrills, not enough violence, and certainly not enough shark. What is does too much of is try and hammer home an environmental message, bordering on preaching. The Black Demon has an average run length, which feels much longer as the film drags. There are a small handful of interesting shots, but those are few and far between. It is tough to make a shark film that’s unique and memorable. Ultimately, The Black Demon falls short. The lack of action and thrills make this one not worth a watch.