TIFF Review: 'Sea Fever' Is a Gripping Oceanic Creature Feature Directed by Neasa Hardiman
Starring Hermione Corfield, Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, James Hickey, Ardalan Esmaili, Olwen Fouéré, Elie Bouakaze
Published Sep 09, 2019What's scarier, outer space or the deep sea?
Okay sure, it's probably outer space, but the deep sea is a close second. Irish writer-director Neasa Hardiman takes audiences out on open waters for this wonderfully eerie creature feature, in which a mysterious monster quietly wreaks havoc on a fishing trawler.
Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) is the unlucky marine biologist who hitched a ride on this boat, and her red hair causes a big stir among the superstitious captains (Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen) and crew, who consider it bad luck. Her scientific knowledge is put to the test when an enormous bioluminescent monster attaches its tendrils to the ship, sending its parasitic green goo into the ship and infecting crew members.
It's a tried-and-true horror concept: a confined space and an unseen threat that leaves everyone wondering if they're infected. It's claustrophobic in all the right ways, akin to Aliens or Sunshine.
Sea Fever falls a little short in its character development. Siobhán is initially portrayed as a socially awkward loner, but this aspect of her character is seemingly abandoned when she strikes up a connection with a hunky crew member (Jack Hickey) and hatches scientific theories with the ship's engineer (Ardalan Esmaili).
Still, it's not the characters that make for a creepy monster movie — it's the skin-crawling sense that terror could strike at any moment. And on that account, it's well worth catching Sea Fever. (Bright Moving Pictures)