SEA FEVER – Review by Susan Granger

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If you’re into sci-fi horror, Neasa Hardiman’s low-budget creature-feature depicts the crew of a creaky Irish fishing trawler battling a horrific oceanic parasite.

Steely Siobhan (Hermione Corfield) is a savvy but anti-social marine biology student who must spend some time doing field study in order to earn her doctoral degree. So she joins a crusty crew that includes Gerard (Dougray Scott), his wife Freya (Connie Nielsen), Johnny (Jack Hickey), Ciara (Olwen Fouere) and the engineer Omid (Ardalan Esmaili) aboard the Niamh Chinn-Oir.

Suddenly, the sea takes on a mysteriously phosphorescent glow as a giant jellyfish attaches itself to the hull, its long, glowing tentacles oozing microscopic, poisonous secretions that puncture and penetrate the wood. A strange, biological anomaly has totally disabled the boat.

In this cramped, claustrophobic setting, there’s a growing sense of eerie paranoia, particularly when they discover that the entire crew of another nearby vessel has suffered a gruesome demise.

How can they combat and contain this parasitic, primordial creature? And who will be infected next?

Irish TV writer-director Neasa Hardiman amps the nautical suspense in her debut feature, borrowing liberally from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Ridley Scott’s Alien with the help of cinematographer Ruairi O’Brien and production designer Ray Ball.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t spend enough time delineating and differentiating the various characters before they’re besieged and eliminated. There are a few superstitious allusions to Siobhan’s red hair being ‘bad luck’ and the seemingly rushed conclusion is frustratingly anti-climactic.

Nevertheless, Hardiman’s message about the importance of working together against an unknown entity and staying in self-quarantine to ensure the safety of others is particularly resonant and timely during the current pandemic.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Sea Fever” is a slimy, slithering, sinister 6, soon available on Prime Video, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Blu-ray and Digital HD.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.