The Thing goes Irish in this impressive looking debut feature by Neasa Hardiman that’s high in dread, but low on scares….
Horror on the sea is a long established entry in the genre that many try to offer new ways for us to be terrified, from the threat of a shark to abandon ghostly ships, that offer up a cast of characters to to meet their demise in different grisly ways!
Its a creepy destination to be at when you are faced will an impending doom, surrounded by nothing but a vast blue ocean , with no one around to help you.
Sea Fever doesn’t contain a man eating shark, instead offering up what I can only describe as a huge Jelly Fish, thirsty for blood. The film doesn’t offer the scale of fun like the cult classic Deep Rising, instead settling for a dour mood that shares more in common with John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Siobhán (Hermione Corfield), is a young marine biologist who for her thesis on sea life, jumps on aboard a fishing trawler to gain some experience to help with her studies. Not long after the trawler hits deep waters, the vessel hits something big and soon deaths occur.
The crew itself led by the husband and wife team of Gerrard (Dougray Scott) and Freya (Connie Nielsen) are the typical hardworking, close community where fishing is in their blood, even though the film doesn’t really spend enough time with each character for us to develop some understanding and then care for them when the shit starts to hit the fan.
Anyone looking for a straight scare fest will be disappointed, Sea Fever’s blueprint is etched in “slow-burn” The Jelly Fish of sorts doesn’t kill outright, but like many creatures we have seen in film, infects their hosts and soon paranoia runs amok and when blood is spilled, it may just please those looking for some gore to their plot!
But while Neasa Hardiamn shows great flair with the camera in what is a promising debut feature, the film itself looking as grim and dour as the crew’s prospects in surviving this attack, you can not help but feel the film fails to reach its hidden potential.
A sense of fear and dread can only get you so far when the eventual outcome lacks the scares and horror that your patience so richly deserves and by the time the final credits roll, you’ll sit there feeling a little flat and disappointed.
For people looking for more realism in their horror, Sea Fever will tick all the boxes, but for the rest of us, we’ll be left wondering at how such a film with great potential didn’t have the savage bite of a shark for an ending!
Out Now To Rent and Buy
My fellow critic David S also saw Sea Fever at The Glasgow Frightfest 2020.
His thoughts are here: