All four episode's are now released, together, as a film on dvd. See more »
[flashback scene: Maxwell has just run over Curtis's dog]
Why don't you keep your dog under control. You could have killed me!
Don't worry, I'm just about to.
[Curtis grabs Maxwell by the throat]
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HIGH TIDE was originally made as a four-part serial for the British TV series ARMCHAIR THRILLER. The series was well known as being an anthology of spooky, mysterious thrillers, and HIGH TIDE certainly fits that bill. It's nowadays been repackaged as a film version without the episode breaks. For what is clearly a low budget production, this is a pretty watchable effort that gets by on the atmosphere alone. From the opening sequence in which the frequent score plays you know you're in for something mildly unusual; the music openly rips off Bernard Herrman's PSYCHO theme in much the same way as RE-ANIMATOR did a few years later.
The storyline sees ex-con Ian McShane driving through the English countryside and looking for some peace and quiet. However, characters from his past refuse to leave him alone, so he takes refuge on a yacht where he must face his problems head on. There's not much substance to this production, but there's style to spare and the coastal locations are very well utilised. In some ways this reminded me of Bernard Cornwell's seafaring thrillers, albeit with less action.
McShane has always been a favourite actor of mine and HIGH TIDE gets by on his charisma alone; the choice of having him do a voice over is a fine one given that he has one of the most characterful voices of any modern actor. However, the mystery aspects of the narrative are solid too, especially the ethereal female figures who come into and go out of the story. Sure, the tale is light on action and only really gets going in the last twenty minutes, but when the journey to that point is so watchable then it doesn't really matter.
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