If you aren’t charmed by Tentacles’ impressive cast or fascinated by the film’s clever use of octopus skills, surely you will be won over by the film’s campiness that culminates in an underwater orca versus octopus showdown.
People who are immune to atrocious acting in minor roles; to occasionally poor dubbing; to a totally unoriginal story; to the sort of sloppiness that allows at least one reference to the octopus as a squid; and to a climactic sequence that looks like feeding time at the aquarium when it is at all intelligible, will cull the exceedingly minor rewards of "Tentacles" from some realistic underwater photography, a nicely manipulative opening sequence in which the baby vanishes; and the bobbing corpse gimmick that was more shocking than anything else in "Jaws."
Fonda, who looks as if he's trying to hide through half the picture, was paid $ 500,000 to look like a convincing victim. It doesn't seem worth it. Even the corny special effects are better than his stilted, walk-through performance. [03 Dec 1989, p.B45]