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Sea Fever (2019) is a sci-fi horror film written and directed by Neasa Hardiman. This TV-14 rated film stars Hermione Corfield, Dag Malmberg, Jack Hickey, Olwen Fouéré, Dougray Scott, Connie Nielsen, Ardalan Esmaili, and Elie Bouakaze. As of this review, you can stream Sea Fever on Kanopy, Shudder, Hulu, and Amazon Video subscribers.

Antisocial PhD student, Siobhán (Hermione Corfield), steps outside her comfort zone to conduct field research on a fishing trawler. While unwilling, she cannot delay any longer. When the vessel steers off course, the crew becomes stranded in a forbidden zone. Unfortunately, they soon learn that this zone holds something monstrous.

Blue text read Sea Fever, octopus arms spread across the ocean as a boat sails above.
Sea Fever Promotional Art

What I like about Sea Fever

Sea Fever won and earned recognition from various film festivals. It was the 2020 winner of the Vitruvian Award for Feature Film. It further received nominations for the Rondo Statuette (Best Independent Film), Chainsaw Award (Best First Feature), IFTA Award (Best Production Design), and the Official Fantastic Competition (Best Motion Picture). The international release schedule likely led to the spreading of the awards between 2020 and 2021.

The trailer did this film a disservice. I mean this in the best way possible. Ultimately, the trailer suggested a B-film with lackluster effects. While it would be inappropriate to suggest exceptional special effects, the quality certainly deserves positive recognition.

I wouldn’t particularly call this a Lovecraftian film, but it dipped into the general cosmic horror genre. While it dealt with similar questions, Sea Fever focused more on science fiction with flavors of the cosmic. It lingers less on the fear of the unknown and more on the humans who squirm under that unknown.

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With this plot, films often infect a character secretly infected, desperate to hide it from the rest of the crew. This typical trope got reversed in the best of ways. To linger on this point might venture into spoilers, but it certainly earned positive marks.

In terms of horror, those lingering questions highlight Sea Fever’s best execution. You feel the hopelessness of the characters. While it’s not inherently haunting, it remains troubling and sometimes grotesque.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes or Triggers

There are some elements of body horror. While it wasn’t enough to make me squeamish, it remains a moderately recurring element. There are several moments where gore and bodily invaders bring out the horror.

A viewer could interpret a few noble sacrifices. But given the context, I would disagree. However, it certainly deserved a mention. If any of the above broke your viewing taboos, perhaps skip Sea Fever.

A scuba diver swimming among jellyfish. A boat floats in the corner.
Sea Fever Promotion

What I Dislike about Sea Fever

Some characters make odd decisions at specific moments to increase tension. A great example of this was the antisocial Siobhán making advances on a man she barely knew. That didn’t exactly fit the character, even with her growth. These decisions are plausible but slightly unrealistic or underdeveloped.

Though not as plentiful as the trailer suggested, there were some poor special effects. This issue didn’t spoil the viewing experience, as most scenes understood the budget. Still, it deserved a mention.

Some of the backstory gets told to the viewer the second it becomes relevant. While this doesn’t always happen in the writing, it seems to happen most for the more emotional points of the film. This fact did undercut the impact of those scenes.

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Final Thoughts

Sea Fever brings a true science fiction focus to its horror, tapping into the fear of the unknown that hints at cosmic horror. For those interested, Sea Fever remains an effective horror with some impressive moments. While it’s not inherently a haunting experience, it certainly satisfies the horror fan with a taste for the unknown.
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Zeth received his M.A in English with a focus in Creative Writing at CSU, Chico. As a human writer, he published in the 9th volume of Multicultural Echoes, served on the editorial board of Watershed Review, and is a horror reviewer for Haunted MTL. All agree he is a real-life human and not an octopus in human skin. Fascinated by horror novels and their movie adaptations, Zeth channels his bone-riddled arms in their study. Games are also a tasty treat, but he only has the two human limbs to write. If you enjoy his writing, check out his website.

Movies n TV

The Boys, The Insider

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We’ve reached the second to last episode of The Boys, season four. And, as is appropriate for the penultimate episode of any show, things have to get a lot worse before they can get better.

Let’s discuss.

The story

Christmas is coming, and the whole world is getting ready. Ryan, despite being very clear that he didn’t want to appear on any TV shows or movies, has been strong-armed into participating in a Vought puppet Christmas special. He draws the line, though, when asked to sing about turning one’s parents in if they start talking about woke things.

Cameron Crovetti in The Boys.

Meanwhile, The Boys are trying to keep each other together. Butcher decides to take Sameer to the rest of the team. He also gets Frenchie out of prison, hoping they can make the Sup virus necessary to finally take down Homelander. Instead, this decision means disaster for one member of the team.

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What worked

I first want to talk about Ryan’s speech near the end of the episode. Because it was exactly the moral of this whole story.

Ryan’s dad is a monster. His stepdad is also kind of a monster. But Ryan is a good kid. He cares about people, about family. And while he loves Homelander and Butcher, he doesn’t want to be like them.

Even better, this speech sounded like something a kid would say. Ryan didn’t open his mouth and start sounding like a college student all of a sudden. He sounds like a kid who misses his mom and wants to live up to the good standards she set for him. And I think that’s terrific.

Speaking of Homelander, he shot himself in the foot in this episode. I said earlier in the season that his hubris was going to be his downfall, and I was right. Without Sage, he just has the same weaknesses he’s always had. He’s going to fail because he just isn’t clever enough or patient enough to succeed.

Without Sage, I think a win is in the bag for The Boys. This isn’t to say that Homelander by himself isn’t dangerous. It’s just that he’s more like a wildfire than a controlled burn. He’s going to cause a lot of damage, but not get anything he wants out of it.

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More’s the pity for him and everyone else who has to share his world.

Finally, I am thrilled with A-Train’s redemption story. I love that he wants to be a good person not to save himself, but to be a good person. His honest, pure and warm reaction to that little kid smiling at him in the last episode was heartwarming. It changed him in a moment, bringing to light a goodness that he’s been keeping under wraps for a long time.

Jessie T. Usher in The Boys.

This, along with Ryan’s courageous speech, proves once again what The Boys does so well. Yes, it’s gruesome. Yes, there’s blood and balls and batshit events. Yes, someone occasionally gets ripped in half. But there is a true human goodness in the story. One that we catch glimpses of. There are good people among the monsters. There is hope for redemption.

What didn’t work

Of course, so few things in this life are perfect, and this episode was no exception. For instance, I was irritated by the insinuation that Butcher cheated on his wife.

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That just doesn’t make any sense. We’ve seen flashbacks of Billy and Becca. They were happy. He was happy. He was head over heels for her. And I don’t think it’s realistic or necessary for the character to throw in that he cheated. It does nothing to add to the story, it’s just a weird and offputting moment.

Doesn’t Butcher have enough to hate about himself? Can’t we just give him that at least he was a good husband?

Finally, I kind of hate that we ended up with Annie being caught. It’s just cliche, which is something I don’t normally say about this show. It feels lazy unless they do something very clever with it in the last episode. Which, I suppose, they might.

Next up is the season finale. And with this season being as insane as it has been, I’m expecting nothing short of bloody fireworks. And I mean literal fireworks of blood. At this point, would it surprise anyone?

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

The Boys, Dirty Business

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Episode six of The Boys was one of the most surprising episodes of the series so far. And that is certainly saying something. Because this season has so far been bonkers.

The story

Our episode today revolves around a party at Tek Knight’s lovely mansion. Yes, it does look just like Wayne Manor.

The Boys know that Tek Knight is working with Homelander on something, but they don’t know the details. So they decide to send Hughie in to bug the mansion.

Because that’s worked so well the other two times he’s tried to hide a bug!

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It should surprise no one that this time goes no better. Hughie finds himself in Tek Knight’s basement. And by that I mean his BDSM dungeon.

Meanwhile, the party upstairs is no less disturbing. Homelander and Sage are trying to convince some well-off political donors to support a cue after the election. When pressed for details on his plan, Homelander freezes. He looks to Sage for help, but she wasn’t recently shot in the head and still in the junk food stage of her healing.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, Neuman jumps in and saves the day.

Claudia Doumit in The Boys.

What works

If I’m going to say one thing about this episode, it didn’t hold back at all. I didn’t expect them to show a character masturbating, sitting their bare behind on a cake, or spraying breastmilk into someone’s face. But every time I thought they’d cut the scene and let something be left to our imagination, they did not do that.

Derek Wilson in The Boys.

This is a dangerous move. Whenever you show the monster, you run the risk of them not being scary enough, or gross enough. As Stephen King says in Danse Macabre, to leave this sort of thing to the imagination if the reader makes things so much worse. So when they finally experience the monster, they might say that this isn’t so bad. It could have been so much worse.

But in this case, they managed to avoid that by making the scenes, especially the ones in Tek Knight’s dungeon, so much worse than I imagined it would be.

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What doesn’t work

While this was a deeply disturbing episode in many ways, there was one really innocent and sweet moment.

And yes, I did have a problem with it.

Confronted by Firecracker, Annie decides to apologize for spreading rumors about her when they were kids. She tells her that she is genuinely sorry.

And I believe her. I don’t think Firecracker did, but I did.

So why is this an issue? Because I’m starting to think that Annie is maybe too nice. She is too good.

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I know that Annie is our good guy. But every one of the other good guys has flaws. Hughie let his pride get in the way and took Temp V. MM hid himself from his daughter instead of teaching her to work through her emotions. Kimiko is far too closed off and has a hard time trusting others. Frenchie numbs himself with drugs. And well, what hasn’t Butcher done?

It is unrealistic that Annie is just so kind and so flawless. We all have shadows in our personalities. We all have weaknesses, we all mess up. We all do things we wish we could take back. The fact that Annie doesn’t seem to have anything like that is not just unrealistic. It’s infantilizing.

Give her some deep dark secrets. Give her something real to regret.

This was a shocking episode, even for someone fairly jaded like me. I wasn’t expecting the sort of weird sexual depravity, though I guess maybe I should have seen it coming. It was dark, upsetting, tense, and funny as hell. And with just two episodes left in the season, I can imagine the stakes are only going to get higher.

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing you can get my short story, Man In The Woods, on Smashwords and Amazon.

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Movies n TV

House of he Dragon: S2E4 – The Return of Trogdor!

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Instead of recapping this episode, I will link you to Strongbad, so you can see something with a dragon that doesn’t suck.

See you for Episode 5!

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