Sea Fever, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonSea Fever, movie (2019)
image © Bright Pictures & Fantastic Films

The Sea Fever (2020) is a science fiction thriller film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Sea Fever, movie (2019)

Original title: Sea Fever

Series: -

Setting: alternate Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: Science fiction thriller, Style: science, horror, thriller

Release: 2019.09.05 Premiere / 2020.04.09 Release

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Taste: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises

Watched: very recent (2020.05), first time

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Sea Fever, a science fiction thriller movie from 2019. It's about a crew of a fishing boat, that gets into a dire situation on the sea, when they encounter an undersea creature. The Sea Fever film is not perfect, but watchable.

If you'd like to be surprised, I don't recommend you to watch the following trailer after 0:42, because it spoils a lot of the movie (up to the last 5 minutes), and it's also misleading about the actual plot.

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Review (spoiler-free) - Sea Fever movie

I've read some recommendation about this film before, and I became interested. I don't think I've watched the trailer, but even if I did, luckily I didn't remember anything of that.

Sea Fever is about a crew of a fishing boat, that gets into a dire situation on the sea, when they encounter an unknown undersea creature.

The basis of the suspense is well-done, although the tension is somewhat lacking. There are no jump scares, the Sea Fever movie tries to build on the dread of the audience.

The concept of the story is good, but I would have preferred a better script. The characters are okay, although they could have been more interesting. The actors are good, they fit the characters well. The actors looks convincing as seamen. The girl looks convincing as an inexperienced, naive student. The visuals are okay. The music is good.

The creature itself is interesting. It has its unique life-cycle, and using the creature could make an interesting film with the right script and direction.

It's probably not the best seafaring suspense movie, but it's watchable.

My experience

I enjoyed the Sea Fever movie somewhat.

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Technically it's okay, the movie is watchable, but it's not a good film.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Sea Fever was slow, and not very interesting.

Chance of watching it again: Unlikely.

Rewatchability: I'm not sure. I think it's mostly the surprise of the story that makes you feel interested. If you take that away, you only get those parts that are not very interesting.

Sea Fever, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonSea Fever, movie (2019)
image © Bright Pictures & Fantastic Films

Will you enjoy this?

If you like science fiction/supernatural thriller movies (Triangle comes to my mind), you might like this one.

If you like science fiction films about creatures (Alien, Host), you might like this, although there is very little science in Sea Fever.

If you prefer horror or thriller movies (Alien, Jaws, The Thing), this is probably not for you. There is nothing really scary in it, there are not even jump scares.

If you prefer action movies, you should skip this. There's practically no action in this. Things happen, but most of the time they just talk about what to do next. If you'd like a better water related action story, watch Underwater (2020).

Watching for plot points

If you are only watching this film because you are curious whether it has some interesting background story or twist - I think you are better off with reading the plot summary, or watch one of the video summaries, I'm going to list in the Resources section of my review.

Sea Fever, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonSea Fever, movie (2019)
image © Bright Pictures & Fantastic Films

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Review with spoilers - Sea Fever movie

The trailer is misleading, because it makes it looks like the crew is going to fight the giant creature, even though they fight the spores and the larvae of the creature. So, it's more of a thriller than an action horror it promises. The film includes elements of Alien (the lunch scene, with the eye-burster in the end) and The Thing (testing the crewmembers one by one), but it doesn't get close to either of them.

Plot summary

A marine biologist goes on a trip with a fishing boat. She is not welcome on the boat because of her red hair, the crewmembers think it will bring bad luck. The captain of the boat is told there's a restricted area ahead, but he goes into it for an easier catch. In that area, they collide into something that stops the boat. Because they didn't follow their reported route, the coast guard wouldn't know where they are. For an unspecified reason, their radio is also destroyed during the collision.

The biologist dives into the water, and sees it's a large, tentacled creature that gripped the boat. While they were stranded, green slime appeared on the boat. They find another ship, and climb on it to ask for help, but the crew of the boat is dead, some of them seemingly committed suicide, others have missing eyes. While they are away, the creature lets the boat free, so they can go when they arrive back.

During the dinner, one of the crewmember feels unwell, wants to take a swim, then his eyes burst, to have dozens of worms fall out of it, into the water drain. These parasites contaminate the water on the boat. Another crewmember gets infected by the worms, who also dies. They try to come up with ways to disinfect the boat. Finally, they coat the boat with seawater, and drive electricity into that, electrocuting the parasites on board. The crew wants to return to harbour, but the biologist insist that they remain in quarantine, until they can be sure they are not infected. Her request is dismissed, so she sabotages the engine of the boat. The captain also becomes infected, and he commits suicide. One of the crewmembers try to kill the biologist, but it's the crewmember that dies during the chase in an accident. One crewmember leaves the boat in a small boat. The last crewmember and the biologist find out that one of the parasites grew into a large creature, but the creature escapes from the ship. They set the boat on fire, and wait for the rescue in an inflatable boat. The biologist assumes she has been infected, so she jumps into the water to commit suicide before the rescue team arrives.

(Luckily, the rescue team is close enough that they could resiscitate her, even if she had enough time and willpower to drown by then.)

The setting

The Sea Fever film is set in an alternate Earth, where giant sea creatures live, that can infect humans with parasitic larvae.

The adult creature has many tentacles that can dissolve wood to inject the slime that contains the spores. The characters assume the creature mistook the boat for a whale, meaning that they probably try to infect whales.

When the spores get into living tissue, they grow into larva. The spores are immune to bleach and ultraviolet light, but they can be electrocuted. The larva can grow to a dog sized tentacle creature without eating any food, apart from a handful of other larvae. The larva can eat through or dissolve metal. The hatchling is also able to get through the metal tank, then through the hull of the ship. They probably use some kind of acid, because it's unlikely they would do it by force.

The larva can be seen sometimes in the eyes, but it's not always that apparent. Before hatching, the eyes of the infected tend to go blind.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one. "Don't let redhairs on a boat"? "Follow the orders of the coast guard"?

As I've read, the intended message was something about not bothering nature, and that the creature shouldn't be demonised, because it just acts in a way that fits its nature. However, we don't respect the nature of mosquitos and viruses, we just exterminate them, as they have the potential to hurt humanity.

Some say it's about the importance of quarantine, but then it misses that point. It shows people who rather try to kill themselves instead of going into hospital, and that looks stupid to me. There is one character, who willingly breaches the quarantine, with probably no consequences.

The structure of the story

The scenes are played in sequence. It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure.

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Things I liked

  • The superstitions add a little extra character to the crew
  • There were some touching scenes about the child of the captain.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I haven't seen anything else from the writer/director (Neasa Hardiman).

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Sea Fever, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonSea Fever, movie (2019)
image © Bright Pictures & Fantastic Films

Problems with the story - Sea Fever movie

The overall story of the Sea Fever film is not very well executed.

Elements I find problematic

  • The radio: The radio seemingly got destroyed when they hit the creature. It seems unlikely for me. Also, the radio should be fixed to the wall, so they wouldn't fall off.
  • The shower attack: The larvae get into the filtration system, but seconds later they infect the guy through the shower. I don't think there was enough time for the larvae to reach the shower, all though the filtration system.
  • The murder attempt comes out of nowhere: There should have been hints of the aggressive nature of the character before.
  • The growth of the creature in the filtration tank: To grow to that size, there must be enough sustenance. While they assume it ate the other larvae to grow that big, if you eat a handful of larva, the maximum you can get out of them is to grow up to the size of a hand, not to the size of a dog.
  • Leaving the dead bodies around: They died because the creature infected them. That means the bodies still carry the parasites. They just put them in sacks, instead of burning the bodies.
  • Cell phones can't produce UV light: The idea in the film probably came from a misconception. While cell phones can produce black light with that trick, this only works on fluorescent materials. The biologist and the engineer should probably know about this.
  • The biologist announces that no hospital could save the infected: She just doesn't have enough information to say this. At this point, she still seems rational, so I don't understand her reasons. She probably also believes in that for some reason, because I think this is why she tries to commit suicide.
  • The biologist acts as if the hatchling is more important than the crew members: It's a little too idealistic at the time we get there. By that time only two of them are left on the boat, so she should be aware of the threat the creature poses.
  • The suicide in the end: As a biologist, she should know that it's not easy to hold her breath until she drowns. Also, when she passes out from the lack of oxygen, she won't be able to force her body to not breathe. When she floats to the surface, if she will be face up, there's a chance that she'll survive easily. The buildup of carbon-monoxide causes fright in the brain, so she'll have a hard time keeping her cool. So, it's pretty unlikely that she'll be succesful, and even if she were, the rescue boat is close enough to save her.

Unanswered questions

  • Why did the coast guard restrict the area?
  • Why did the first victim wanted to swim?
  • In the end, how did the coast guard reach the boat that fast?
  • Why did the biologist say no hospital could save them?
  • Why did the biologist girl think that she is infected?

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Possibilities of improvement

  • The radio should have problems: Before starting, one of the crewmembers should mention they need to repair the radio. They removed it from the wall, took it apart, just before the collision happens. That would make the inability to use the radio more plausible.
  • Include some aggressive cursing, and stories about previous incidents about the old woman: This could prepare the viewer for her violent outburst.
  • Cut the black light cellphone scene: It doesn't work like that in reality, and it takes away from the scientific aspect.

How it could have been better?

If the creators hired some scientist, it might have improved the science elements.

The biologist seems irrational, especially about biology. So, she should be either belong to another field, or she should take biology more seriously.

If they were to build on the mistrust due to the infection, it should have been a more pronounced part of the story. The Thing does this well, in Sea Fever, they don't seem to be afraid of the parasites spreading through contact.

While I liked the appearance of superstition among the crew, it would have been great had they started to use it for the character interactions, instead of just mentioning that all of them have superstitions about red haired women on boat. For example, when the crewmember injured his hand when the biologist girl was around, somebody could have accused her. When she asked some crew members to do something, they could have refused, telling they won't do it, because it would bring bad luck.

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Resources - Sea Fever movie

IMDB: Sea Fever (2019): Database article.

WikiPedia: Sea Fever: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Sea Fever: Database article.

Metacritic: Sea Fever 2020: Database article.

Creation

: Behind the scenes article.

Parental advisory information - Sea Fever movie

Jeffrey M. Anderson (for Common Sense Media ): Sea Fever: Parental advisory information article.

Reviews with no spoilers - Sea Fever movie

Benjamin Lee (for The Guardian): Sea Fever review – sturdy, slimy sci-fi horror trawls for cliches: Review article of the Sea Fever movie with no spoilers.

Bilge Ebiri (for Vulture): Sea Fever Is Eerily Timely, But Also Just Plain Eerie: Review article of the Sea Fever movie with minor spoilers, no more than the trailer.

Cinemovie: 'Sea Fever' Movie Review: A Sci-Fi Thriller For The Times: Review article of the Sea Fever movie with minor spoilers, no more than the trailer.

Dennis Harves (for Variety): Toronto Film Review: ‘Sea Fever’: Review article of the Sea Fever movie with minor spoilers, no more than the trailer.

Graeme Robertson (for Flickering Myth): Movie Review – Sea Fever (2019): Review article of the Sea Fever movie with no spoilers.

Jason Gorber (for SlashFilm): ‘Sea Fever’ Review: An Enthralling, Character-Driven Sea Monster Movie [TIFF 2019]: Review article of the Sea Fever movie with no spoilers.

Perri Nemiroff (for Collider): ‘Sea Fever’ Review: An Expertly Crafted Creature Feature with Purpose | TIFF 2019: Review article of the Sea Fever movie with minor spoilers, no more than the trailer.

Reviews with spoilers - Sea Fever movie

: Review video of the Sea Fever movie, with spoilers.

Analysis - Sea Fever movie

Diksha Sundriyal (for The Cinemaholic): Sea Fever Ending, Explained: Analysis article of the Sea Fever movie. Contains plot summary, and speculations about the ending.

Perri Nemiroff (for Collider): ‘Sea Fever’ Ending Explained: Sea Monsters and Social Distancing: Analysis article of the Sea Fever movie. Contains plot summary.

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Buying the product - Sea Fever movie

 

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Have you seen the Sea Fever film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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