OMID: “So, you want us to just sit here and wait to die?”

SIOBHAN: “I want us all to stay on the boat until we are sure none of us is infected. It’s not my life, it’s your families – it’s your husbands, your babies. Blame me if you want, but we have to take action. We have to take responsibility.”

You can pretty much take for granted that when writer/director Neasa Hardiman took to the water to film this parasitic chiller, the possibility of a looming global pandemic was the last thing on their mind.

But here we are, with Sea Fever arriving to eerily ‘good’ timing, providing one of those ‘art imitating life’ moments that pops up every now and then.

It’s a simple set up – in a sea-faring riff on the likes of The Thing or even Alien, a rag-tag crew stumble across something they probably shouldn’t have, which gets aboard and slowly makes its way through all on deck – with gruesome results…

In this case it is an Irish fishing trawler, filled with an assorted crew of husband-and-wife captains (Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen), an intellectually-frustrated engineer (Ardalan Esmaili), ‘grunts’ in the shape of Jack Hickey and Elie Bouakaze and a superstitious old dear (Olwen Fouere).

Into the mix is thrown focused, forthright and anti-social research scientist Siobhan (Hermione Corfield), joining the ship to study ocean creatures as part of her current paper.

Trouble is, she doesn’t really want to be there – and the crew don’t really want her there either (various fisherman’s tales about redheads being dangerous on deck etc).

That all changes though when Scott decides to override advice from the coastguard and sail into off-limits waters, keen to cash in on the bountiful shoals thought to be in the depths.

Something else is in those depths though – a mysterious sea creature that is able to infect the ship’s water supply – with devastating effect. The crew race to get home – but will any of them make it…

There is an awful lot to like about Sea Fever. For starters Hardiman is content to spend the first half of the film allowing the various characters to breathe and develop, with relationships, issues and frustrations bubbling to the fore.

This works because then, as a viewer, you have something to cling to when the carnage starts to unfold, rather than the film simply playing out as a body count movie as so many of this ilk are.

The cast are good, although Scott and Nielsen’s accents had me struggling at times. Corfield in particular is excellent, her research student thrust into the role of a ‘final girl’ of sorts, her mild-mannered, quiet demeanour becoming ever more forceful and confident as the film unravels.

The effects are also nice and squishy (there are a few exploding eyeballs), while the ‘creature’ itself works really well – mysterious enough to appear threatening, but not outlandish enough to become far-fetched.

Clammy, claustrophobic and playing out with a tangible sense of urgency, Sea Fever comes highly recommended.

Rental Review: Sea Fever
4.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle