Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, this entry into Women In Horror is one that is great all around. The story starts off simple with a redhead student joining a boat’s crew, something that is supposed to be unlucky at sea, but as they already have women which also used to be considered unlucky at sea, they probably don’t need to worry about her. Then as things advance the film starts to feel like a mix of body horror, body invasion, and a touch of paranoia a la The Thing. The film here has strong writing and directing and shows a good knowledge of horror and what makes a suspenseful film. This here shows that Hardiman, who earned her stripes on tv series, is one to watch for her next feature. The film here has a good structure, timing that is on point, and a story that keeps the viewer involved.
The cast for this deep sea story is led by Hermione Corfield as Siobhán and she turns in a performance that keeps the viewer watching all through the movie. She’s a strong actress with a lot of character to her; she puts her all in this part and makes Siobhán her own. Her work is the one to watch the most here. Another one who is to watch as she steals scenes left and right is Olwen Fouéré as Ciara, she gives a badass performance and is one tough lady that makes a connection with the viewer from her short screen time. Also giving a strong performance that stands out is Ardalan Esmaili as Omid. His performance gives the character depth and something hidden that makes the story even more interesting as he may or may not be hiding something or he may just be a really deep person overall. The film makes good use of this and putting him and Corfield in scenes together a lot works fantastically well here.
The film also has a very shot with cinematography by Ruairí O’Brien that frames everything perfectly. The work done here shows a mastery of framing and a knowledge of what to include and what to exclude to make a scene really speak. The cinematography here gives images like the review photo which shows the perfect balance of a character and not much else. The film has a plethora of scenes where the background is perfect and the way it comes together with the character is created in a way that gives the film a beauty even when the subject is a bit creepier. Helping these images is the production design by Ray Ball with art direction by Shane McEnroe and set décor by Marion Picard which together give the ship that old ship that’s been lived in for a while look and feel. The special effects add to this but are used minimally so that the big reveal is even better, these effects are by the Haymaker team.
Sea Fever has a slow start with great performances that keep the viewer involved until things get really interesting and the film becomes engrossing and a bit tense. The writing, directing, and acting are all top notch and give the film the impression of being a much bigger budget film. It’s the kind of film that is being released without possibly having known that their characters talking about quarantine would be a bit extra on point by its release date. It’s a good one though, so it keeps the mind occupied with different reasons than what most people are currently dealing with.