Sea Fever

06/23/2020 06:36

Film: Sea Fever

Year: 2019

Director: Neasa Hardiman

Writer: Neasa Hardiman

Starring: Hermione Corfield, Dougray Scott and Connie Neilsen



This was a movie that I got turned on to from podcasts when I was looking for 2020 horror films to watch, not only for my podcast, but to also keep up with my goal for the year. I’m a sucker for movies that take place out on open water, because I’m both fascinated and terrified what could be at the bottom. This really intrigued me to check out from what I heard and decided with Jaime to give this a viewing. The synopsis is the crew of a West of Ireland trawler, marooned at sea, struggle for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.

We start this off with our main character of Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) studying something in the institute where she is going to school. Her professor, Dag Malmberg, tells her she needs to make the fishing vessel that she is doing field work on or he’s going to fail her. We get the idea that she’s a loner and doesn’t want to do this credit, even though it is required. She likes to analyze data and study patterns, which is staying in the laboratory. She is forced to go.

She is met by Johnny (Jack Hickey) who leads her to the vessel. They’re joined by Ciara (Olwen Fouéré) who tries to make Siobhán feel welcome. This boat is skippered by Gerard (Dougray Scott) and Freya (Connie Nielsen). Also on the crew are Omidi (Ardalan Esmaili) and Sudi (Elie Bouakaze). Siobhán is impressed when she sees the water filtration system that Omid created, but puts her foot in her mouth with a backhanded compliment about his career choice.

They head out to sea. Gerard gets a report that there is a ton of fish in the place they usually set up their nets so they’re excited it will be a good haul. The problem is that they soon learn that the Coast Guard is preventing them from going there as it is currently an ‘Exclusion Zone’.

Unknown to the crew though, Gerard redirects them to go into it anyways and they end up stuck. Freya learns of what he did, but is willing to keep it a secret. Siobhán is supposed to analyze their haul and do a dive herself. Since something has stopped them from leaving or going further, she is asked to see what it is. Before that though, the wood of the hull is being changed by something. What they discover in the water is a large creature, with tentacles that is holding them in place. They try to get free, but it will destroy their machinery to do so. Another vessel is discovered nearby and they make a grisly discovery on-board there. What might even be scarier is what gets into their water supply.

Now that is where I’m going to leave my recap as that is just an extended version of what the synopsis from the Internet Movie Database gave. I did leave some aspects out as I’m going to delve into some of them here without going really into spoilers.

The first thing that I really like what they did with this story is the fact that we’re mixing science with fisherman lore. I find mythology in general to be fascinating, especially with how they use different things to explain why they happen. Some examples we get are Siobhán is a bit of an outcast on the vessel to start because she is a redhead. I guess this is a bad omen for fisherman. It doesn’t mean everything that happens is her fault, but I can see why they would correlate. We also learn about a goddess that jumped into the water is how they explain phytoplankton as they light up the water. The first one has no basis and the second has an explanation, but it just interests me that they come up these things in general.

Going from this idea with science, I like that by having Siobhán on board, she is trying to be logical with what to do. At first, they don’t think anything is wrong. With what they find on the other vessel, Gerard is chalking it up to sea fever, which I take is just cabin fever, but you’re stuck in a ship on the water. Siobhán keeps noticing evidence like seeing something in Johnny’s eye or just little things that are being said around her. She looks for patterns so I like progressing the story this way.

Now if you personally know me, then as I said earlier, I’m terrified of open water. This is partially because I don’t know what is underneath and at the bottom. To give you a bit of background, I’ve been on Lake Erie, as I live in Ohio, a few times on boats. I’ve legit had some anxiety attacks when I can’t see land. When their vessel gets stuck, my anxiety went through the roof and this happens a couple of times. There’s also a sea creature in this movie that legitimately could exist.

The last aspect of the story I wanted to delve into is that the makers of this movie probably couldn’t have hoped for a better climate in the world to release this. I’m still currently working from home from this COVID-19 threat. At the time of writing this, things are opening back up and we’re returning to some sense of normal, but it is crazy that Siobhán is recommend they quarantine to ensure that if they’re infected, they can contain it until they know. Much like people in my country, partially those that think it is a hoax and others who just don’t think it is that bad; Freya, Gerard and pretty much the rest of the crew disagree. They think just going to the hospital is fine if they feel sick. This parasite doesn’t transfer as easy as the Corona Virus, but clearly we see that this mindset is legitimate with what we’ve been going through. Even more so here that they see what the effects are and still turn a blind eye to it.

I’ve heard some people say that this is a bit slow. I can see that thought process, but I don’t agree with. I never found myself bored and thought it moved through the plot points at a good clip. It also has a runtime of just over 90 minutes so that really helps as well. We don’t really linger on anything too long which also helps in my opinion. The ending is a bit sad to be honest, but I dug that.

I want to move this next to the acting, which I also thought was good. We have a blend of actors on this boat I’ve seen in things, with some younger people I haven’t and they all play well off each other. Corfield I saw in a film last year called Rust Creek, which I thought she was good in. I thought we got an even better performance here. She gives off that brooding feeling of someone who doesn’t connect well with people and a bit socially awkward. She is smart though and important to everything. I thought Hickey, Esmaili, Bouakaze and Fouéré are all solid as the crew on the vessel. It’s also interesting to have veteran actors in Scott and Nielsen as those in charge. We have a nice split of an older generation and diverse younger generation, but they just all work together very well.

The last thing to cover would be the effects for me. To be honest, I think we get a bit of CGI here, but they don’t use a lot of it so it works. I’m assuming everything with the sea creature under the water was CGI. I liked though how it is glowing so being in the water makes that feel more real to me. I also think what happens with Johnny is also CGI, but it is so quick I couldn’t pick it apart. The blood we get in the movie was good. The isolation also really works for me as well. There’s some really good framing to go with the cinematography.

Now with that said, I thought this was a solid film in my opinion. This really does feel like Alien or The Thing on the boat, while doing its own thing. The duality of fishing lore with science was something that intrigued me. I thought the acting really carried this as tension mounts with being isolated here like they are. The CGI was pretty solid and the practical effects used with it. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it also doesn’t hurt the film. I really like what they were doing here and I think this could possible be a contender for my year end as well.


My Rating: 8 out of 10