Sea Fever 2019 movie

Sea Fever – Never disrespect underwater creatures

How little we know about the mysteries hidden beneath Earth’s seas and oceans is how our journey begins in this strange 2019 horror/fantasy movie, Sea Fever.

The protagonist of this aquatic fable is young Siobhan, a rigid and obsessive student of animal behavior who, to expand her research, embarks aboard the fishing vessel Niamh Cinn Óir.

Spending a few weeks with the crew, she would like to find and study anomalies in the marine fauna along the coast of Ireland.

However, she is unaware of the desperate situation facing Mrs. Freya, the ship’s owner and captain along with her husband Gerard; so deep in debt they risk losing their business entirely.

Desperation reaches the point that Gerard, unbeknownst to his wife, changes course to an Exclusion zone where, according to the law, they cannot fish, and precisely because of this, they should find no competition.

Unfortunately, immediately upon entering the zone, the boat gets stuck and stranded in some glowing tentacles, which keep them trapped and seem to erode the walls below the water level.

Siobhan, eager to discover the nature of these tentacles, dives deep to find the problem and thus discovers that each tentacle is just a tiny part of a more enormous creature.

To make matters worse, some of the crew members begin to behave strangely and quickly die from what appears to be the infection of some small larvae.

At that point, the captain and the others would just like to turn around and go home, but Siobhan tampered with the ship, fearing an outbreak that could spread unchecked ashore.

With no more chance to escape, they must wait at least thirty-six hours to see if any more disease symptoms appear, staying afloat just above this immense and dangerous unknown creature.

Love and Respect for the Sea

Sea Fever is supposed to be the syndrome leading to paranoia and madness for anyone who spends too much time at sea, but in this 2019 movie, the characters’ fear is more than justified.

We do not lack illustrious examples of movies completely set on a boat, yet Neasa Hardiman‘s skillful direction and screenplay stage an evocative “chamber drama” that floats delightfully on the fine line between horror and science fiction.

The narrative exhibits a deep respect for those who devote their lives to the sea. It’s not about historical figures or famous heroes but about ordinary fishermen who, like their counterparts on land, face daily struggles to make a living. This humanizing aspect of the movie resonates with viewers, regardless of their familiarity with the sea.

Equally apparent is the admiration for lovers of the mysterious marine ecosystem, such as the beautiful young protagonist played by Hermione Corfield.

It’s no coincidence that this character’s introduction is the same as the movie’s. We see this student girl preferring to be alone even on her birthday while alternating with some real footage of the lush variety of underwater life in Ireland’s seas.

Even the “monster” itself, if you want to call it that, is nothing supernatural but a kind of super octopus with glowing tentacles that the girl defends in every discussion since it is humans’ fault for disturbing the peace of its natural environment, not vice versa.

I believe this kind of environmentalist message, inserted subtly into the plot of a minor, low-budget movie, works much better than the noisy, self-centered campaigns around the world of public figures like Greta Thunberg, who only ends up attracting dislike for herself and consequently also disinterest in every topic she talks about.

Traveling afloat of tension

As mentioned, a major highlight is the choice of young actress Hermione Corfield to play the bizarre protagonist, Siobhán.

From the first scene, she is a girl immediately distant from others, locked in her own world of seeking knowledge and establishing truth at any cost.

So she is an admirable, if somewhat sad and lonely character, who will, however, eventually open up to others in the coerced coexistence of the journey on this small boat.

Furthermore, we can see a growing contrast and competition with Connie Nielsen‘s character, Captain Freya, as usual, with the beautiful and talented actress filling every role flawlessly.

Although initially, Freya seems to appreciate Siobhán’s presence on board, as the situation becomes difficult and then desperate, she would like to ignore the girl’s words and suggestions simply because she does not accept the hard truth that she and the crew are almost certainly doomed at that point.

Indeed, since we do not see much of the giant monster underwater, the real enemy is the parasites it releases into their water because of her man’s decision to violate the forbidden space, played by the excellent “sea face” of Dougray Scott.

While these characters have the experience of life aboard a boat that the young wannabe scientist does not, they lack the sense of duty and total sacrifice that, on the other hand, Siobhán amply demonstrates in the last touching scene and the unexpected ending of the story.

Finally, we applaud Olwen Fouéré for his eerie presence as the old and not-so-wise Ciara, who, in her final madness, is very reminiscent of the actress’s character in the darkly colorful action/horror Mandy that I endlessly enjoy.

As you see, and as I always repeat, it often only takes a few characters, a good narrative idea and effective staging to get a little gem like Sea Fever, a movie unjustly unnoticed in 2019. What do you think, do you care enough to “fish” it out of the bottom of forgotten cinema?

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