Film Review

Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever

I love a good aquatic set horror movie, whether the events take place down below in the depth in a submarine or on the surface in a boat. Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever is a solid offering that features a bit of both of these worlds, set aboard a trawler somewhere off the Irish coast that encounters something previously undiscovered in the animal kingdom. Captained by a veteran couple (Dougray Scott & Connie Nielsen, always welcome in my book), the boat soon finds itself marooned way out in open water as some massive, otherworldly creature attaches itself to their hull with with powerful phosphorescent tentacles and holds them in stasis. It’s up to a loner marine biology major (Hermione Corfield) to try and discover the nature of this animal and how to get it off their craft, but soon it becomes clear that this thing has a terrifying way of reproduction that involves tiny spores ending up in human anatomy systems after which some truly shocking body horror commences. The scenes of horror are bloody, frantic and genuinely disturbing but they’re juxtaposed with an ethereal beauty and reverence for this creature, and the power that nature has over us as a species. One character even observes that this animal isn’t malicious or evil but simply mistook their boat for another large animal and did what is in its nature: attempt to feed and reproduce. There’s a compassion there in the scriptwriting that you don’t often have in these types of horror films, and it gives it a different aura overall. We never truly see the creature in its entirety but the luminous encroaching limbs emanating ghostly blue light from the deep and the vague suggestion of a vast body mass below it are incredibly haunting, almost profound images that linger with you. If you’re a fan of aquatic horror in the vein of things like The Abyss, DeepStar 6, Leviathan and The Rift you’ll get a kick out of this. It’s restrained yet scary, brutal yet lyrical and does a great job at evoking atmosphere.

-Nate Hill

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