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John’s Horror Corner: Sea Fever (2019), a highly infectious, atmospheric and interesting sea creature feature.

April 18, 2020

MY CALL: I found this film consistently interesting and immersive in atmosphere. This was a very satisfying viewing for me. Strongly recommended for lovers of sea monster cinema and patient creature features. MORE MOVIES LIKE Sea Fever: For more creature feature horrors at sea, check out Underwater (2020), Cold Skin (2017), Harbinger Down (2015), The Bay (2012), Virus (1999), Deep Rising (1998), The Rift (1990), Deepstar Six (1989), Leviathan (1989) and, although all Sci-fi and no horror, I’d still strongly recommend The Abyss (1989).

A young introverted scientist specializing in marine ecological patterns, Siobhán (Hermione Corfield; Slaughterhouse Rulez, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) joins a marine expedition for her graduate research.

The ship is run by Freya (Connie Nielsen; Gladiator, Wonder Woman, Mission to Mars, Soldier) and Gerard (Dougray Scott; The Vatican Tapes, Hemlock Grove, Dark Water, Perfect Creature), and crewed by the gruffly seasoned yet kind Ciara (Olwen Fouéré; Mandy), Johnny (Jack Hickey; Penny Dreadful), Sudi (Elie Bouakaze) and Omid (Ardalan Esmaili; Greyzone).

Although a talented up-and-coming marine biologist, Siobhán is rather filterless, so she doesn’t make fast friends. And being a redhead, the seafarers consider her bad luck. If only they knew the movie in which they were trapped.

The tone takes a hard starboard turn from adventurous to worrisome when the ship seems to hit “something” and the integrity of the hull becomes questionable. Some investigation reveals very large bioluminescent lamprey-like organisms stuck to the boat, but they are connected to a mythically-huge Charybdis-like anemone-jellyfish monster deep below.

As some sort of infection sets in among the crew, eyes burst in spraying gouts and everyone understandably gets paranoid. This monstrous parasite spreads innocuously in their water supply. Meanwhile, the crew try to assign blame, reconcile their own guilt, learn whether or not they’re infected, and figure out how to get back home. As their numbers dwindle, the stakes rise and there is little hope. Some scenes reminded me of The Thing (1982), Slugs (1988) and Night of the Creeps (1986), but not in any copycatting or campy sense.

Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, this interesting film strikes victory for both women in horror and Irish horror. And not just for Hardiman’s direction, but the film overall. The shots of the ship and its wake in the piceous ocean were simply stunning. The performances were on point. And I enjoyed the special effects and creature effects, with ample monstrous slimy goo and actually good-looking CGI sea creatures. But when the horror and gore set in, I was especially pleased.

IRISH HORROR SIDEBAR: For more Irish horror movies check out Leprechaun Origins (2014), Leprechaun 2 (1994), Leprechaun (1993), Rawhead Rex (1986), Isolation (2005), Grabbers (2012), Cherry Tree (2015), Holidays (2016; St. Patrick’s Day segment), The Hallow (2015) and Hole in the Ground (2019).

I found this film consistently interesting and immersive in atmosphere. This was a very satisfying viewing for me, and just days after seeing (and loving) Underwater (2020). Strongly recommended for lovers of sea monster cinema and patient creature features.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2020 9:43 am

    Thanks for the review. I’d never heard of this one but sounds like a winner. Added it to my watch list.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 22, 2020 9:49 am

      I like it because it’s patient and thoughtful, but still packs some gore and creatures. Well-acted, too. That’s not so common for creature features.

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  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix

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