Paul Sturges, Chato & Ines In ‘The Black Demon,’ Explained: Who Survives In The End?

Against the backdrop of whispered legends of ‘El Demonio Negro,’ a name bestowed on the ferocious megalodon that haunts the waters of the town of Bahia Negra, a family of four races against time to make it out alive. A lot of the onus to bring everyone back to safety falls on Paul, the head of the family and an engineer at Nixon Oil. But he’s not all alone; he has the only two remaining crew members of the oil rig Paul is inspecting to help him. How do these characters fare in their struggle to make it out of the area where the shark is seen circling?

Spoilers Ahead

Paul Sturges

Paul Sturges (played by Josh Lucas) works as an engineer at Nixon Oil and has been sent to inspect one of the company’s offshore rigs along the coast of Mexico. He decides that he could have his wife and kids tag along for the weekend while he works. From the beginning, he tells his family that he is here to inspect and possibly decommission the oil rig at El Diamante if there’s no way to resuscitate her. It has been a fair few years since his last visit to the town of Bahia Negra, so the near-ruined state of it leaves him and his wife, Ines, pretty shocked. He seems confident that his company’s oil rig in Baja is one of the only ones to be doing so well and is somehow keeping up the livelihood of this small town. He doesn’t bat an eye, even as most of the locals seem to talk down to him after learning that he works for Nixon Oil—clearly not wanting to acknowledge that there may be something more to their behavior.

When the locals constantly talk about the legend of el demonio negro, which literally translates to ‘the black demon,’ he scoffs, like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Even as the boatman, who declines to take him right up to the oil rig, warns him that his company’s oil rig is what ‘awoke the demon,’ he refuses to confront the fact that there might be some truth to the claims. Paul’s character is written as the stereotypical outsider who pokes fun at the locals’ belief in cultural legends and as one who will do anything before acknowledging that the oil rig is, in fact, a threat to the ecosystem and the people at large.

Even after watching firsthand the larger-than-life shark swallow a boat, he refuses to humor his crew member, even for a moment. He comes across as an arrogant, self-serving man who represents corporate greed, firmly believing that he and his corporation gave a small, sleepy town the advantages of prosperity and have absolutely no responsibility for the ruined state it has found itself in. You are hardly surprised when it becomes clear that Paul has been ignoring several warnings about the dangers of the oil rig over the years, continuing to sign off on papers that covered the problems, which makes his sacrifice towards the end of the movie completely out of character.


Chato’s character (wonderfully played by Julio Cesar Cedillo) will possibly be the most liked in the film. One of the original crew members, Chato, is the only one apart from his partner, Junior, who stays back at the rig with no way to escape. When he sees Paul, he immediately tells him about the terrible leak in the rig, claiming that the seniors up at Nixon Oil knew all about it. Born and brought up in this once-vibrant town, Chato refuses to leave the rig, even when it means a grave danger to his own life.

Despite knowing that Paul had signed off on papers that covered up the dangers of the rig, he is patient and helpful, begging him to see that the mythic legend he believes in may not be so mythical after all. Even as he comes to terms with the fact that they may not make it out alive, and after losing Junior to the shark-demon, Chato continues to help Paul find a way that may at least save Ines and the kids. Chato understands Paul when he says that he wants to carry out his plan by himself, saying that he wants him to get the redemption he seeks. He promises Paul the protection of his family in the event that things turn out badly. And that is exactly what he does in the end—make sure that Ines and the kids escape the rig safely and get onto a raft.


Ines agrees to tag along with Paul and bring the kids as well because she wants to revisit the town she first went to before her marriage. She feels like it’s a great idea for the kids to see some of the cultures she grew up with and get closer to their roots. She doesn’t blink twice before taking matters into her own hands when things get tough, especially when her kids are in danger. When a couple of drunks make a scene at the restaurant and ogle at Audrey, she doesn’t think twice before hitting one of them on the head before chaperoning her kids out to safety.

In the beginning, she shares the same sentiments as Paul about the legends of the demon, but she begins changing her mind after witnessing the shark in action. She encourages Paul as he figures out a way to get out of the rig, constantly making sure that the kids are alright during the process. When she finds that Paul has been sanctioning the rig’s permits despite having been given several warnings against doing so, she grows absolutely scared and livid. She feels saddened by the fact that Paul was so blind in his bid to make money and rise up the corporate and social ladder that he ignored the threat to the people of this town and, by extension, nature herself. She tells Paul, without mincing her words, that he is the reason they find themselves in this position today—that the real monster is not the one in the waters; it is him. When Paul sees no other option apart from sacrificing himself to protect his family, she is heartbroken but remains strong for Audrey and Tommy.

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Anjena Pillai
Anjena Pillai
Anjena is a wordsmith by day and a dreamer by night. A Cancerian with a heart as tender as a marshmallow who prefers staying at home than going out to meet people. Professional movie crier – tissues always on standby! She whips up stories and recipes with equal passion, and does not underestimate the magical power of books, movies, warm hugs, and a perfectly-baked chocolate cake!

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