Director: Neasa Hardiman
Starring: Hermione Corfield, Dag Malmberg,Jack Hickey, Olwen Fouéré, Dougray Scott, Sonnie Nielsen, Ardalan Esmaili, Elie Couakaze. UK/Ireland. 1h 25m
Sea fever, much like cabin fever strikes when everyone least’s expects it, sometimes it can be contained and only affects one person, other times it turns into group hysteria and it can be a struggle to figure out what’s real and not., but in Hardiman’s offbeat body horror, with ties to Celtic mythology, emerges a story that becomes a deep dive into our small part in the ecology of this watery planet.
With a mixed crew, harboring a few familiar faces, namely Scott, Olwen and Nielsen, it’s the lesser known who really have the biggest impact, lead star, Corfield, plays an autistic Marine Biology Student, Siobhan, who sparks intrigue and fear as she’s stunning, mysterious and unfortunately curse with red hair, the whole first half of the movie is littered with comments about her hair and questions about why she’s been allowed on board. While it’s unusual to see fishermen be so superstitious, it’s obvious that this armament will run its course through the movie, and this isn’t the only cliché.
This first time feature from Neasa Hardiam, who’s better known for film features, puts a fated crew on board of a boat named Niamh Cinn Oir, Niamh of the Golden Hair, leading to a lot of fans reading up on olde folklore stories and trying to pick at connections, but the films biggest question for audiences is, how do you fit in with the ecosystem of planet earth.. not the ego system, and our place is quickly adjusted when a few slithering creatures attach themselves to the boat and hold in place long enough for our curiosity to take the Sioban into the water and for the crew to become infected with smaller but equally deadly slithering things.
“Sea Fever.. It happens.. “
Once the critters are all on board it’s just a matter of time before horrible bloody slimy things happen to the crew, as the “infection” spreads, eyeballs are burst open and legions spring up leaving any trypophobic looking for a bigger boat. It’s never a mystery how the human body becomes such an ideal host for all sorts of critters from the deep ocean or even deep space, but the motives of the creatures and the Siobahn is always in question. It was brought to my attention post screening that Sioban is in fact autistic and after re-watching I think I “get her” and appreciate the slyness of the director.
From the artful camera effects on the claustrophobic and isolated boat, the body horror antics and unknown possibilities from the deep, the last thing on the crews mind is a girl with red hair. Despite the icky premise the challenging idea of ecology ring out the ending scene which doesn’t add anything to the trauma the film is bound to have caused. I think as a entry film into the horrors of the deep, then Sea Fever will inspire but if you’ve grown up with other classic titles, Deep Star Six, Leviathan, Abyss, 20,000 League under the sea etc etc etc then this is just another title from a long history of exploration.
Related: Sputnik (2020), The Cave (2005),Leviathan (1989), Virus (1999),
Lists: Deep Sea Terrors, Modern Terror from the Deep
Spotlight: Dougray Scott
s, 2019,6, ireland,uk, sea, boat, creatures, blood, eyeballs, skin, biting, eels, unknown, environmental, curse, mythology, red hair,