A rising tide, to take the phrase in a less literal sense, is the beginning of a movement, the start of something potentially huge. Rising Tide is another entry into the rapidly growing genre of British no-budget filmmaking, and as such the titular metaphor takes on further meaning when you consider it in a wider context. Paranormal Activity is the most well-noted example – made for a mere $15,000, it went on to gross almost $200 million – and in more recent times Monsters and Kill List have proved that both critical and financial success are achievable with minimal investment. Perhaps we are seeing the future of British filmmaking, who knows? The fact remains – you are looking at far less risk and, if you were to stumble upon the occasional hit, potentially large reward.
Rising Tide is not the next no-budget film turned blockbuster, but it achieves in other ways. Take, for example, it’s harnessing of its Northern identity. Set in the North East, it also features an entirely North East cast and includes music exclusively from the North East. This accumulates to create a convincing regional effect – when the setting is so well defined the events that take place seem infinitely more believable, this isn’t just a fictional story set in a fictional place, maybe this is happening right now?
So, what is happening? A group of friends, upon finishing their A-levels, decide to spend one last weekend together. Initially they envisage going to a festival, but after a few unfortunate events they end up stranded, camping on the island of Lindisfarne. When the tide rapidly comes in they realise they’re stuck there for the night. Never mind, it’s not like they invited a mysterious creepy girl along with them, a girl who seems to have a talent for occult-sounding Latin singing and who none of them knew before she was invited on the trip.
As events take a severely sinister turn, and one-by-one the group begin to mysteriously disappear, it becomes apparent that the tag-along friend has a darker past than she is letting on.
Primarily Rising Tide is a horror film, it exists to make you squirm in your seat, but it infuses elements of other genres, creating something that is difficult to define. Though that’s a positive; generic suspense horror is about as interesting as a brick wall, and also about as a familiar.
As the film moves towards its conclusion you’ll find yourself intrigued to learn exactly what was going on the whole time. Ultimately, it’s a perplexing ending, but not necessarily a bad one – just don’t expect a complete explanation of preceding events.
Barring a few sound glitches, Rising Tide is an impressive production, particularly when considering the budget limitations. It looks great from start to finish, with some noticeable visual flourishes dotted throughout – top marks to the cinematographer. It’s also well paced, with only a few editing creases present.
Overall, an audience in the North-East will get more of a kick out of Rising Tide than most, but there’s enough here to respect for it to be worthy of a wider crowd. Southerners may proclaim ‘It’s grim up North’, on this basis they may be right.