Monday, March 21, 2011

The Bermuda Triangle (1978)

This misbegotten “thriller” would seem to merit investigation because it was made at the height of public curiosity about the Bermuda Triangle, and because Hollywood legend John Huston plays a leading role. However things like excitement and momentum disappeared during the making of this movie just like the countless planes and ships that have vanished into the mysterious part of the ocean after which the flick is named. The set-up is simple enough: A small ship filled with passengers and sailors drifts into the Triangle, and weirdness ensues. Unfortunately, the “weirdness” is as uninteresting as the passengers and sailors. At the beginning of the picture, a little girl on board the ship discovers a doll in the ocean, which she recovers and then interprets as an omen of bad things to come. If that strikes you as a crackerjack hook for a thriller, then you may be the rare soul who finds something of value in this unwatchable dreck, which substitutes confusing, quasi-psychological tumult for actual scares and shocks. Lazily directed by Mexican hack René Cardona Jr., whose other nautical-themed crapfests include Tintotera (1977) and Cyclone (1978), the movie mistakes meandering underwater photography and occasional glimpses of marine life for special effects, so don’t hold your breath waiting for something provocative or unique. Worse, the narrative wobbles between incoherent and trite; in the rare moments when the murky storyline coheres, it presents pointless melodrama with lots of Mexican supporting actors whose dialogue is dubbed (poorly) into English. Huston, the famed film director and occasional actor, lived during the ’70s near Cozumel, the idyllic Mexican coastal community where this picture was shot, so one can only assume that he liked the idea of earning a quick buck by walking down the beach and reciting inane dialogue. At least he got something out of the enterprise, which is more than can be said for viewers.

The Bermuda Triangle: SQUARE

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