A bizarre creature hitches a ride on a departing trawler, in this masterful genre film from Irish filmmaker Neasa Hardiman that leverages the mysteries of the sea to amplify the potential horrors of the unknown.
For all our dazzling strides in understanding this vast world we inhabit, the sea remains a source of great mystery, a place where awe and fear are eternally confluent. A spinetingling marriage of science and folklore, this deftly crafted thinking-person's chiller draws upon our fascination with deep waters and the strange forms they conceal.
Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) is a brilliant young marine biology student, more at home amidst laboratory equipment than people. As a component of her studies, she boards a trawler overseen by a couple (Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen) whose amiable demeanour shields both financial worries and profound grief. Siobhán is not exactly welcomed aboard: her cool, scientific perspective is at odds with that of the salty, superstitious crew of "fishmen," and her red hair is considered bad luck. Not long after setting sail, the old ship's hull is glommed onto by a bizarre, bioluminescent creature of unknown genus.
Written and directed by veteran Irish filmmaker Neasa Hardiman, Sea Fever draws us in with richly constructed characters before rattling our senses with all manner of eerie sights and sounds, recalling such genre hybrid classics as Alien and The Thing. Hardiman and her collaborators exude a keen understanding of how repulsion and allure intertwine, how our bodies cannot be regarded as separate from the forces of nature, and how perilous it can be to disrespect what we do not understand.