Beast of the Bering Sea (2013)
Sea vampires "vant" to suck your blood!
I know this may not be a widely-held common thing, but every now and then I just get the desire to watch a SyFy original. Sure, sometimes the movie ends up being pretty dang awesome (like Dog Soldiers) but most the time it's hard to tell if a movie was decent or your expectations were just so low it was hard to be let down in the first place. Well then, this here's a SyFy original movie that's pitch is something so far not too used: What if we took vampires, and put them on a boat? What if we took vampires, and put them under the boat? Can Beast suck the boredom from your veins, or will it just plain suck?
Alright, it's a SyFy original so it's going to be pretty dull for me to prattle on about the "plot" for three paragraphs - so I'll do you a favor. I'm going to prattle on about their plot for two paragraphs, and then I'm going to tell you my plot for the movie (as thanks to a wild imagination I can pretend I'm watching movies with copies of myself to make things more entertaining) in one paragraph. You should feel honored, and you're very much welcome. Anywho, Beast follows a family of drudgers who find a bit of underwater drift with potential to house a large amount of gold and go down to check it out before the state-held auction comes up. Upon investigation, one of the divers disturbs a long-sleeping batch of creatures and promptly get's himself killed, while the other three dredgers tuck tail and head back home.
Their problems don't end there, as a competitor wins their auction do to some underhanded shadowy practices and they need to deal with their dead coworker as well. The father of the family-run dredgers goes out with a friend to find and kill the "shark" that killed the worker, and right after he leaves a marine biologist informs the others that she has found the body of their coworker washed up on shore drained entirely of blood. What could cause this? The father finds out when he's attacked by the same creatures, killing his shark-hunting buddy and seemingly wounding him. With the father out of the picture, will the kids, the new hired hand, and the biologist be able to save themselves from the evil they have unleashed?
Now, my version of the plot changes some key details. Instead of dredgers, they are pirates - because pirates like gold and live on boats. The pirates find some treasure under the sea, but it's guarded by monsterous creatures who feed on human blood. To further complicate things, a deadline fast approaches that will prevent the pirates from stealing the gold from the monsters, and when their captain is grievously wounded by the foul beasts, moods quickly change from gold-driven greed to murderous revenge. Acquiring technology from the future, the remaining pirates strike at the hearts of the creatures weakness, hoping not to banish them from the world, but instead to maliciously dispose of the race of demons killing their own and keeping them from their booty!
As is standard with SyFy originals, if you expected some really good acting, you went barking up the wrong tree. The single highlight of the entire film as far as acting goes is a phone call made from the hired hand to his son about battling monsters for treasure. The rest? Laughable to annoying, depending on how short your fuse is - and I'd wager in most of their "panicky" scenes you'll find that wick to be shorter than you thought. The bright side is that you can always hear the actors fine thanks to audio levels - the dark side being that sometimes you will wish you couldn't.
The creatures seem to be pretty heavy duty CG (I missed a pun right there replacing duty with doody), of a pretty not-so-hot caliber but largely passable by made for TV standards (particularly SyFy). I mean, they look better than some of the stuff out of the average run of Asylum movies, so they have that going for them. Some form of reproductive cycle is teased and largely inconsequential by the end, but the main thing about them is they are a "blood sucking manta ray with a serpent's toothed maw set atop it's body that can swim and fly." Yeah, it's pretty preposterous, but it's at least thinking outside the box, so I'll give some props for that - you really don't see too many bloodsucking mantas flying around murdering people after all.
Oddly enough, the music is probably the highlight of the entire movie. This isn't to say that the songs are particularly memorable - I couldn't exactly hum them for you or anything like that - but every time I heard a song it immediately tried to steal the thunder of whatever was going on onscreen. Be it lengthy setup scene, an action number, an explorative quip, or even a montage, the tunes eminently pop out as something that deserves more of your attention, and provide more energy and draw-factor than the actors or CG accomplish through the entire reel. Other than that, sound effects tend to be tv-exaggerated (I'm looking at you lights and electricity), but everything is well balanced and audible as needed.
The verdict? Best part of the movie was a pun on the back of a boat named "Boy N Sea" (if I have to explain it, then the jokes kinda lost isn't it?). It's your standard SyFy original - a step above the average Asylum flick, but not really by all that much. If you are a fan of these types of movies (which you would know if you were), then it'd be worth sitting and watching it while on tv - but I don't think anyone would want to legitimately spend money to buy it. Still, with a couple a friends, and using imagination (such as I did earlier with my alternate plot), the thing could be gold - but there isn't any saving the acting. No sir, unless you mute the movie and make up you own lines, in which case I'm pretty sure the movie could be made even better (or potentially worse)!