Sea Fever didn’t have to work very hard to convince me that I never want to be on a fishing boat ever like fucking never ever. Not only is it cramped, dirty and dark, but every room is a weird stunted height and full of machinery and not enough space for anyone to do anything. I’m surprised there’s even a shower big enough to stand in.
Luckily our main character Siobhan (Hermione Corfield) feels exactly the same way as I do about boats, which is the same way I feel about people, but she’s got to go on this dive/fishing trip with these bunch of randos or her professor will fail her entire doctorate. Unluckily for the Siobhan, the crew isn’t particularly enthused at her arrival, especially when it’s revealed she’s a redhead, which has long been a legendary seafaring curse. Soon all of that matters pales in comparison, because the boat is attacked by this strange green slime, which isn’t doing much to ease the on-board tension.
Thanks to a good cast and some grounded performances, the introductory first half paces by pretty briskly despite the single-location setting. Proceedings aren’t afraid to get bloody either – there’s some creativity on show once things start getting gross. There’s also no shortage of both beautiful and terrifying shots of the sea, as well as the claustrophobic interiors of the boat.
But after a while the story just sort of peters out and, even though a long steady shot of something is a pretty clear sign that the movie is over, the ending still feels anticlimactic. Without spoiling it, perhaps a bigger budget might have allowed for more complex CGI that might have extended the scene; but I’m speculating. The tone feels like a mash of different genre tones, and there are some messages about family and social responsibility – especially timely and therefore thunderingly resonant during this pandemic – but it really only touches the surface as the story lurches past its Thing-style plot checkpoints. It’s nothing new, and it’s fun to watch, but a bit disappointing that it runs out of steam so early.