SEA FEVER – Review
SEA FEVER will be available on Digital and On Demand on April 10th.
Review by Matthew Lowery
Stories about aquatic terrors are certainly nothing new, dating back to the ancient Greek legend of the Hydra. Authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Jules Verne, and Herman Melville became famous for writing such tales about underwater monsters. In films, there have been tons about undersea creatures terrorizing people, most famously being Spielberg’s 1975 classic, Jaws. However, after the release of 1979’s Alien, people were more focused on outer space terrors than those from the depths. Around the late 1980s, there was a string of underwater creature films released, including The Abyss, Leviathan, and Deepstar Six. Most recently, we had the surprisingly effective deep-sea thriller, Underwater, and now we have another one straight from Ireland. This time, it’s from writer-director Neasa Hardiman, who previously directed TV shows like Happy Valley, The Inhumans, and Jessica Jones. She’s now making her feature film debut with the ocean-based thriller, Sea Fever.
Marine-biology student Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) is tasked to embark on a week-long trip aboard a rusty old fishing boat. Headed by husband and wife Gerard (Dougray Scott) and Freya (Connie Nielsen), she’s tasked with photographing their catches for anomalies. During the trip, the crew discovers a giant creature underwater has attached its tendrils to the boat, stranding them. The creature eventually frees them, but not before leaving behind some sludge carrying some deadly parasites that begin to spread. Crew member Johnny (Jack Hickey) ends up getting infected and dies, making the rest increasingly paranoid about who’s next. To make matters worse, the parasites have taken over their water supply, making it easier to infect the crew. Against all odds, Siobhán must overcome her shyness and win the crew’s trust if they’re going to survive. Who will live through this, and who will be the next victim?
Sea Fever certainly takes influence from other, better movies, but it’s well-crafted and well-acted enough to stand on its own. Given she had more experience directing for TV, Hardiman’s direction is surprisingly decent, using tracking shots and some dynamic lighting. Performance-wise, everyone delivers a solid performance, especially lead actors Corfield, Nielsen, and Scott, who all help to carry the film. Corfield adds a very human element to the proceedings, and Nielsen and Scott feel like a couple with a history. There are some nice practical effects used, and the digital effects work used for the undersea creatures isn’t too bad. Sea Fever does take time out to develop the characters, even if things don’t pick up until halfway through. Once it does, it becomes an intense thriller where you’re not sure who’s infected, who’s safe, and what’ll happen next. It’s a solid effort for a debut feature film.
As I alluded to earlier, it’s easy to draw comparisons between Sea Fever and various other films of similar ilk. Structurally, the film feels like a cross between Alien and The Thing, with some elements of Jaws also thrown in. There’s the undersea creature terrorizing people, the crew growing paranoid over one another, and even scenes reminiscent of those films. Then again, a film taking influence from other films is nothing new, so long as it ends up being good. In this case, Sea Fever is an impressive horror thriller with enough style and acting to keep one’s interest. Plus, at a brisk 97 minutes, the film doesn’t outstay its welcome and moves at a solid pace. It won’t set the world on fire or have a major impact, but it shows that Neasa Hardiman has potential. Overall, Sea Fever is an ocean-based thriller that’s worth one’s salt.
3 out of 4 stars