Low Tide, written and directed by Kevin McMullin, is a refreshingly old-school thriller. Owing a lot to classics of the genre, such as The Goonies, McMullin’s film is nonetheless a satisfying nostalgia trip, largely thanks to impressive performances and an immersive atmosphere.
The movie follows a group of young troublemakers as they find buried treasure, sending them on a perilous adventure being trailed both by the police and by each other. Ultimately, the film is relatively predictable, but it was enjoyable regardless, particularly because movies like this rarely come out anymore. Even though the film is hardly realistic, the fantasy of childhood wonder is still very much alive in the narrative, and this feeling is infectious.
The main theme of the movie has to do with friendship and what it means to the characters, and by extension, the filmmakers. As one would expect, the point at which things start to fall apart for the protagonists is when they start to turn against each other. Although what the film has to say regarding this topic is nothing new, McMullin manages to make this old-school message still feel important in the modern day.
Thanks to the movie’s brief runtime, clocking in at under an hour and a half long, and the unwaveringly fun tone, the film manages to be consistently entertaining. The movie never takes itself too seriously, and as a result, viewers will be able to go along for the ride much like they would some of their favorites from the 80’s.
Additionally, the character development in the film is quite strong. One of the most compelling elements of the story is the sibling relationship between the two leads of the movie, Peter and Alan. While the adventure elements provide the most enjoyable moments that the film has to offer, the sibling relationship serves as the emotional core of the script.
Jaeden Martell gives a phenomenal performance in his leading role. One of the most talented young actors working today, this movie gives him yet another opportunity to show his range. However, unlike many of the other films in which he starred, much of the movie is on his shoulders. Even though there are some strong supporting actors, including Shea Wigham and Keean Johnson, Martell does much of the work to hold up the film.
Visually, the movie has a very retro style that works quite well within the context of the story. The film may not have a specific time period in which it is set, but the filmmakers did a very good job of giving the movie a throwback feel that is important in allowing it to convey that magic and wonder that is so integral to the story.
Low Tide isn’t a perfect film, but thanks to strong performances, a lively script, and excellent visuals, it manages to stand out as one of the better exercises in nostalgia in recent memory. Audiences young and old will connect with this movie’s story about childhood wonder.
Low Tide is now available on VOD and hits theaters on October 4.