Review by Sean Boelman
Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, Sea Fever is a new Irish horror film rooted in sailing superstitions. Thanks to a lean script, some absolutely phenomenal performances, and killer practical effects, Hardiman delivers a satisfying and thrilling creature feature that audiences won’t soon forget.
The movie follows the crew of a boat that gets marooned at sea, soon discovering that their water supply has been infected with a vicious parasite. Although the film’s core premise is pretty basic, that is exactly what a movie like this needs to succeed. In horror, the case is usually the less the audience sees, the better, and Hardiman absolutely takes that rule into account.
Something about this film that is really impressive is its excellent world-building. Hardiman creates a set of rules for her movie’s world and sticks to them. The result is a horror film that immerses the audience and makes them feel trapped in the boat right alongside the crew and this dangerous parasite.
The movie is also much more of a slow burn than most contemporary horror, and as a result, it feels very refreshing. It takes a little while for the exciting stuff to start happening, but once it does, it has a tremendous impact. The use of gore in the film is minimal, though Hardiman knows exactly when and how much to show to disturb the audience.
Hardiman brings a very traditional horror style to the movie, and it is nice to see filmmakers using these tried-and-true suspense tactics as opposed to cheap jump scares and an overreliance on blood and guts. It’s sad that in the horror genre, competency is impressive, but that is very much the case here.
Hardiman’s movie also works well on a character level. There’s obviously some influence from classics of the genre such as Alien, and that manifests itself in the film’s heroine. Initially seen as a burden by her peers (her hair color is said to bring bad luck), the protagonist eventually proves herself to be the most resourceful member of the crew, and her arc is compelling.
Hermione Corfield plays the lead in the movie and does a wonderful job as the badass woman at the center of the film. She’s a charismatic lead, and her performance shows that she deserves more opportunities to take the spotlight. The supporting cast is also talented, the standout being Connie Nielsen.
Sea Fever is one of the best offerings that the creature feature subgenre of horror has had to offer in recent memory. Taking familiar tropes and putting a sea-faring twist on them, Hardiman has made a truly chilling horror flick.
Sea Fever hits VOD on April 10.