Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bering Sea Beast

For a movie about sea monsters, Bering Sea Beast (2013) sure has a lot of footage of people running to and from cars and trucks. I guess that's one way to keep production costs down.

Also known as Beast of the Bering Sea and Damn Sea Vampires! (a much better title), Bering Sea Beast is no better or worse than just about any other Syfy Channel original monster movie. It is what it is: modern-day schlock of the post-drive-in theater era. Dull acting, awful special effects, and a complete lack of logic are to be expected. If you enjoy cheesy bad movies, have at it, but it's not my thing. I found it boring and repetitive.

A family-run dredging boat is out looking for gold one night when they unknowingly stir up a horde of the famed sea vampires, creatures of local legend that drain the blood from their victims and are sensitive to bright light. When their father is killed, siblings Donna and Joe vow to take out those damn sea vampires.

The thing with these Syfy Channel original movies is how formulaic they are. Swap out the cast, ensuring at least one B-level or has-been actor or actress, and and pick your monster, and you're good to go. That wouldn't be so bad if so much time wasn't spent on characters standing around and talking about things I don't care about.

Random character background is brought up, never to be mentioned again, and there is so much nonsensical plotting. In Bering Sea Beast, an approaching storm is mentioned and set up to be a big deal; afterward, the weather is never a factor. This is the kind of movie in which no one thinks to use two corpses and a captured specimen of the creatures that killed them to convince anyone the water is dangerous.

When the creatures attack, the scenes are so ineptly staged and made up of god-awful computer graphics, it's pitiful. Actors have to stand still to ensure they're killed, and very rarely do actors and creatures actually share the same frame. It's hard to build tension if the audience is never sure the monster and the victim are even in the same place at the same time. Occasionally, the movie mixes in a scheme to kill or capture one of the sea vampires, but too often, it's just a lot of aimless running away by the humans, who don't even seem to be in that much of a hurry.

The cast is mostly unknowns, except for one ... I was about to say recognizable name, but if you only remember Jonathan Lipnicki as the cute kid from Jerry Maguire, you won't won't recognize him. He's not a cute little cute kid anymore. I'm not saying he's hideously ugly or anything; he's reasonably presentable, but without glasses, he's just kind of a generic looking guy, and the script doesn't do him, or anybody else, any favors.

Performances are flat, and motivation is often nonsensical. The siblings seem more upset about not being able to dredge for gold than their father being horrifically killed by a monster.

Bering Sea Beast should be watched during a cable broadcast. Watching it uninterrupted from start to finish, it's easy to become bored or distracted. On TV, at least there are commercials to break the flow, and you can always change the channel to something more stimulating.

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