>> If you combined every film about troubled and reckless teen-aged boys, the product would be Low Tide. Directed by Kevin McMullin, Low Tide follows Alan (Keean Johnson), Smitty (Daniel Zolghadri), and Red (Alex Neustaedter) as they spend their summer on the Jersey Shore harassing tourists and burglarizing vacation homes. When Alan and his younger brother (Jaeden Martell) find some pirate-style treasure during a burglary, tensions and suspicions grow strong between the group of friends.

Low Tide is comprised of a high level of finesse for a low budget independent film, which is expected from any film distributed by A24 (and DIRECTV). While this is no Nicolas Winding Refn spectacle, its compositions and camera work are strong from start to finish. However, Low Tide stands out because of its performances, it’s like a surprisingly good appetizer-sampler of the best Generation Z actors. Specifically, Neustaedter - whose on-screen presence is incredibly commanding, psychotic, and quite chilling.

Unfortunately, what Low Tide lacks is originality, it’s banal plot has nothing new to say about a storyline we are all too familiar with. Its premise is comparable to that of The Goonies, The Outsiders, Super Dark Times, Mean Creek, and The Lost Boys - some are arguably more entertaining and authentic, while others have a cultural footprint so large there’s just no winning. Struggling in a quicksand of clichés, Low Tide never stood a chance against its predecessors. However, while predictable, this amazing cast pulls through to make this film work. If it wasn’t for the strong performances, Low Tide would be dead on arrival.

Low Tide is well-executed, well-acted, but too damn predictable. It’s an entertaining watch on a day when you don’t want to use too much brainpower. 5.5/10 <<

Low Tide is available exclusively on DIRECTV on September 5th and in select theatres on October 4th.