Friday, April 10, 2020

Sea Fever (2020)

Streaming Service: Dust via
Movie Name/Year: Sea Fever (2020)
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Bright Moving Pictures, Creativity Capital, Fantastic Films, Flexibon Films, Frakas Productions, Makar Productions, Gunpowder & Sky, Signature Pictures, Dust, Eagle Film
Director: Neasa Hardiman
Writer: Neasa Hardiman
Actors: Connie Nielsen, Hermione Corfield, Dougray Scott, Olwen Fouéré, Jack Hickey, Ardalan Esmaili, Elie Bouakaze

Blurb from IMDb: The crew of a West of Ireland trawler, marooned at sea, struggle for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.

Cat’s Point of View:

It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to take part in something groundbreaking. That’s just one of the several reasons why Sea Fever jumped to the top of the list for today’s review. In researching a different article, I came across the announcement that the US premiere would be a live stream event hosted by Dust, which is a free streaming platform for science fiction short films. (Dust also has its own YouTube channel where some of its shorts are featured.)

For a $4.99 ‘ticket,’ the online audience would have access to the movie a day early (April 9th, 2020) and also get to participate in a live Q&A session with the director and some cast members immediately following the movie. Sold!

Of course, with theaters around the world currently closed due to pandemic mitigation, the movie industry is requiring fast adaptation to bridge the gap between now and when the big screens can re-open once more. I thought this was quite the ingenious proposal to offer a ‘red carpet’ experience to everyone. It’s a win/win for the producers and distributors as well as the film, itself.

With that in mind, our Top 20 movies to look out for in April focused on internet releases only. Selina and I both had high hopes for Sea Fever. She had it listed as #2, while I had this movie as my #10 pick. I’m somewhat wishing I’d listed it higher in retrospect. Alas, hindsight is what it is.

On to the movie!

I love the ocean, creature features, and all things Irish – so this was really a film right up my alley. Though, as a horror film set on the high seas, I had an initial expectation of dread at the outset because of how isolated and vulnerable the characters were under such circumstances. That, and you know something wonky is going to happen when someone tells a bookish scientist that they should get out of the lab and live a little, right?

I was not disappointed in the least with this movie.

The creature was right on target as creepy and eerily beautiful. No, scratch that. It was horrifying. I’m curious to know how much of it was practical effects and how much was rendered with CGI. Unfortunately, the Q&A didn’t get to that question. I enjoyed it all the same. They did discuss the set, itself to some extent, however. I have to tip my hat to the art department and those responsible for set-building for this project. All of the interior shots of the ship were done on a sound stage, where they’d meticulously recreated the inside of the trawler.

The production team did a phenomenal job with casting for Neasa Hardiman’s (Holby City, Inhumans, Jessica Jones) Irish tale of terror. Hermione Corfield (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Rust Creek), Connie Nielsen (The Following, Wonder Woman, The Catcher Was a Spy), Dougray Scott (Hemlock Grove, The Vatican Tapes, Batwoman) all delivered nuanced and gritty performances.

I completely believed I was watching the inner-workings of an Irish fishing trawler while they put up with their aloof scientist passenger. The decisions the characters made and their dialogue felt organic. The moral/ethical dilemma that the crew finds themselves in is also crazily similar to much of what the world is facing now in our collective isolation. It’s quite the coincidence in timing that this film is releasing now, with current events as they are – but it makes the stakes the characters are facing feel all the more real. It gives a different perspective on things.

I also enjoyed how the story subverts some of the expectations one would have with this genre. It’s interesting when you see someone changing up the recipe. The outcome felt right. Just keep in mind that this film is a slow burn. It’s not flashbangs, running, and screaming. It’s a buildup of unease and psychological just as much as it’s about an alien of the ocean depths.

Sea Fever will be available, starting April 10, 2020, on a number of streaming services. If you visit the link in the summary details above, the movie’s website provides a comprehensive list of availability. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 61
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

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