Red Moon Tide


‘…a series of austere images that just about tell a story if you use your imagination…’

Avast, landlubbers, today’s movie selection deals with the rarely-seen topic of sea monsters! But before you lay out your harpoons and start double-tracking the vocals on your sea-shanties, this is a Spanish art-film about sea-monsters on the Mubi channel, so don’t expect 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea shenanigans. Lois Patiño’s film feels like what would happen if Russian poetic auteur Andrei Tarkovsky made a Godzilla movie, and if that sounds odd, it’s a fair reflection on what’s served up here.

In a synopsis that can’t help but sound a lot more dynamic than what we actually see, a sea-monster is haunting the inhabitants of a Galician coastal town. A boat has gone missing, and with it Rubio (Rubio de Camelle), a local hero, a mariner of some repute, and the town’s best hope of dealing with the sea beast. Rubio’s mom has a witchcraft hotline set up, and calls on three witches who wear white sheets like ghosties and run surveillance on the town’s hydro-electric dam. Rubio returns from the dead to do the bidding of the witches, but it’s up to the audience to work out where they stand on a battle between the supernatural and nature itself.

What is happening in Red Moon Tide? Don’t look for characters, plot or audience-pleasing fun; instead we have a series of austere images that just about tell a story if you use your imagination. At times, this is more like looking through some holiday snaps than watching a film, although the overall effect is cinematic. The debt to Tarkovsky is evident, but Red Moon Tide also harks back to the pastoral mysticism of Battle in Heaven or even El Topo. ‘The monster is the sea, and we are the monster’s dream’ runs one of the rare lines of dialogue, and that’s about all you need to know in terms of plot resolution; otherwise, it’s best just to let the surreal imagery wash over you.

Those looking for a blast of Post Tenabras Lux weirdness will have come to the right place with Red Moon Tide, which won’t be for mainstream audiences, but will please those looking for contemplative, meditative, dream-like film-making. So many horror movies are lowest common denominator affairs; it’s good to see the art-house crowd put the sense of dread back into the sea monster genre. So watch out, there Be Monsters ahead, or at least, there might be something in the final shot that looks like one, although it might have been my cat’s reflection on the television, it was both dark and late when the sighting occured.

Thanks to Mubi for providing advanced access to this title, out now in the UK.


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  1. I go to work for a mere 9hrs and look what happens! If I was in charge around here I’d be charteuse carding left and right for a googleplex years…

  2. Quite a comment thread.

    As near as I can tell from everything that’s been said: Dix’s local library is a shipping container with a single computer, which he uses to search the Internet for “garbage humping” porn (an addiction Otsy has warned him about). He does this because there aren’t any rubber dinosaurs for him to play with. Instead of baking the scones he promised, he saves his ear wax in a Tupperware container, perhaps hoping to one day make a dinosaur out of it. Or a Golem to unleash on his enemies. He has also been caught trying to bribe some of the staffers at Alex Inc. to give him the answers to the next movie quiz in exchange for invites to swank parties, which is poor sportsmanship!

    I don’t know what to say in the face of such an onslaught of malfeasance and degeneracy. Too late for an intervention. I can only look on in horror.

    • That’s about the gist of it; so, no denial from you, then? Case closes. We can work out the details when we join the Can’t Lose Super-Duper Mega League…

    • I think in the comment section of Dix’s review of Red Moon Tide, we’ve come on leaps and bounds on the awareness of “garbage humping”. It’s an important issue, and I’m glad we were able to accept and finds ways to help those in need, simply skipping the first four steps of grief to the last one, which is quite incredible. All in all, a great day, for us all.

      • Totally. And Alex will think twice the next time the sweet smell of bin juice assails him.

        • I’m an olfactory kind of guy. Smell is as important to sex as it is to a good meal. You have so much to learn.

          Did we choose names yet for the SDML? Are you going to make your ear-wax Golem the B-field mascot?

  3. Oh, come on. You can’t have a monster picture without monsters. Arties get enough critical approval as it is without moving into sacred monster territory and breaking the golden rule of monster pictures i.e. show a monster.

    • Well, there is something at the end, a big shape. Might be my cat’s reflection, maybe a shark, maybe a sea monster. Maybe the best part of a monster movie is anticipation, and there’s bags of anticipation here. Not much monstering.

  4. Is the music haunting and slow? If so, I bet I could at least listen to this. It can’t be worse than some of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.

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