Friday 9 June 2023

REVIEW: The Black Demon (2023) - Starring Josh Lucas, Fernanda Urrejola and Julio Cesar Cedillo

Review by Jon Donnis
For decades and decades filmmakers have tried to recreate the greatness of Jaws with various shark related movies. In recent times the only way to get a shark bigger and badder than Jaws is to use the prehistoric megalodon as the shark in question. Ones that come to mind include "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon" (2002), "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus" (2009), "Megalodon" (2018) and of course the most famous of the lot "The Meg" (2018). So how does The Black Demon compare? Read on to find out.

Paul Sturges (Josh Lucas), an inspector working for an oil company, receives an assignment to assess an offshore oil rig situated in a quaint Mexican town in Baja California. Seizing the opportunity for a family vacation, he decides to bring along his wife Ines (Fernanda Urrejola) and their two children, Audrey (Venus Ariel) and Tommy (Carlos Solórzano). However, upon their arrival, they are taken aback by the sight of a town in utter disarray and ruins.

Undeterred by the chaos, Paul embarks on a boat journey to reach the oil rig, while his family resolves to follow suit in a separate vessel. After a perilous voyage, they finally arrive at the oil rig, only to discover a scene of decay and danger. To make matters worse, a colossal 60-foot (18-meter) megalodon shark, ominously named "El Demonio Negro" or The Black Demon, roams the treacherous waters surrounding the rig.

Joined by two remaining rig workers, Chato (Julio Cesar Cedillo) and Junior (Jorge A. Jimenez), the group finds themselves facing a daunting challenge: finding a way to survive and return safely to the mainland. With danger lurking at every turn, they must pool their resources, ingenuity, and courage to devise a plan that will allow them to overcome the menacing presence of the Black Demon and escape the rig's deteriorating conditions.

The story is pretty standard, a giant ancient shark is killing people, and people have to first survive and secondly hope to kill the creature. Throw in your usual story of manmade ecological disasters, and climate change to keep the far left happy, and you have yourself a film.

The Black Demon seems to have a decent enough budget for what is ultimately a straight to digital type release, but there is one huge problem in this film. The megalodon isn't really in it much, and when it is the CGI isn't the best unfortunately. Now I know that Jaws wasn't actually in the Jaws film that much either, but that was a film that was all about tension, the build up etc, it was also directed by Steven Spielberg.

Adrian Grünberg does the best job he can with The Black Demon, but struggles clearly as people really watch films like this to see a big shark kill people. Comparisons to other films like The Meg are going to be unfortunate, especially considering that is probably the best modern day shark film, and that had a big budget and big name cast. I would have preferred the film be at maximum 80 minutes long, just to help tighten everything up, but at 90 minutes it is acceptable.

The Good
The Black Demon does its best with what it has, it is just over 90 minutes, so not too long, the Sturges family are all portrayed well, and the Ines character played by Fernanda Urrejola comes across as a very likeable and strong character early on. The bits of the film where we do get to see the shark are fun.

The Bad
Just not enough of the shark, a lack of tension build also negatively affects the enjoyment of the film.

A simple and standard monster movie. If you are a fan of the genre, then I see no reason why you won't enjoy this. It may not be the best megalodon film out there, but it is not the worst either.

I score The Black Demon a fair 7/10. I like these kinds of films, and despite the budgetary restraints i thought it was good.

Out now on digital at or you can pre-order on Blu-ray at