You guys have been doing a great job throwing out new movies for all of us to check out, watch, and talk about here on THiNC. (Pro Tip: if you want to join in, hit the red tab at the bottom of the page.) The Warning was a pretty good one, Blow the Man Down I enjoyed, Revolver was a massive mind job, and then there was Tales from the Loop! Tons of good recommendations. But today, I’m bringing to you a little Indie film I really enjoyed called Sea Fever. It’s a unique spin on a pretty well known story. It’s sort of an Alien, Life movie hybrid of sorts, but with a sea/fishing backstory. A Sea Fever Movie Recommendation
I mean, come on, you’ve got nothing else going on in your life right now. You’re quarantined. Trapped. DESOLATION! So give it a shot. You can watch it on Prime, or Youtube. But don’t continue on without having watched it. OK.
Sea Fever Walkthrough
The story is super simple. Siobhán, a medical student, joins an ill-fated fishing expedition. She pays for passage on the ship simply to check the ship’s catch for weird aberrations. Okay? Fine. But this ship isn’t well. The owners of the boat, they aren’t able to pay the crew, and this will be their last voyage unless they make an outrageous catch. They need an outrageous catch. It’s also why they took Siobhán’s money. Regardless, they set off, and they begin their hunt for that one big catch that will save them all.
Now, throughout the film, we see some really interesting Irish lore and myth sprinkled here and there. Like when Freya, the boat’s owner, tells Siobhán about phytoplankton. Which is funny, because Siobhán knows about phytoplankton. But Freya hooks her with a right hook and begins talking about the story of Niamh Cinn-Oir. Oh, and by the way, Freya named their daughter Niamh as well. (And after I looked it up, I learned that Niaṁh Cinn-Óir was actually a gold-headed beauty – who carried away Oisín to live with her in Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth. Eternally young. (Can I just say that it’s awesome that she totally abducted some guy? And got away with it? hahaha.) She had two sons and a daughter with Oisín. After more than 300 years of living together, Niamh reluctantly allowed Oisín to visit Ireland, imposing on him a taboo not to touch the ground there, and once he did, he turned old and was unable to go back to see Niamh ever again. Anyway, so apparently she dissolved her hair into the sea, and that is where all the phytoplankton came from!) But the bigger thing that the Irish myths do, is that they place this story firmly within the realm of monsters and legends. Siobhán represents the logic of science, and modernity, but the boat lives deeply within the realm of anti-science and lore.
Now, if you aren’t aware, all horror movies require the victims to invite the horror in somehow. Sometimes it’s literal, like with vampire movies – vampires literally aren’t allowed in without being invited in. But also metaphorically. And like all other horror movies, the fishing boat invites the horror in when Gerard (the boat’s captain) willfully pilots the boat into an exclusion zone. They were told specifically not to head into this specific zone of the sea, but he had already decided that his catch was right there. (All these trees in this forest are good for eating, but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) And the moment they sinned, as soon as they disobeyed the directives, they invited the evil in. A sea monster, it latches hold of their ship, and Siobhán dives down to get a look at what it is. And the funny thing is she believes that it comes from the cnidarian phylum of ocean animals.
So this sea monster, has latched onto the boat. It’s boring holes into the side of the vessel, and in is spewing some sort of mucus sludge. And Siobhán works her science magic to try and figure out what the stuff is. But she doesn’t figure it out before they spot another boat. And when they crossed over to visit the other boat, they find everyone on the boat is dead. And a few of the ship’s crew’s eyes have been gouged out? Something horrible has happened on this boat. And we know that whatever fate befell this other boat, well that is also coming for their ship as well. And we see this begin to play out as various members of the crew begin flipping out. Johnny decides he wants to take a little swim in the ocean after the monster releases them. And a little while later, Siobhán notices something swimming in his eye. Now, I have to say, that of all the things that freak me out in a horror movie, this is it for me. To think about an onslaught of microcosmic cannibalistic aliens burrowing through my eyes?!? GAH!
Anyway, even though the monster has released the ship, there is a growing monster burrowing through the ships desalination system. And Siobhán is doing everything she can with her scientific brain to kill this earth bound animal. But what she doesn’t realize is that this thing isn’t from planet earth. This thing isn’t from the real world of mortals, but rather it is from some other realm.
Anyway, everyone but Siobhán and Omid die. But as they are dying, Siobhán’s number one thought is to keep the people ashore from getting infected. It caused me to step out of the movie a moment and to think, huh, Siobhán is advocating for social distancing too. Huh. You know how it happens. Someone goes mad. Someone explodes. Another person claws their face off. I really don’t even remember. Anyway, Siobhán and the other fellow scientist are the only two still alive. And when they go down to check on the alien in the water tank, they watch as it bursts out of the bottom of the boat. Which, apparently, causes the boat to start sinking. The two scientific minds jump out into the life-raft. When the monster attacks them, Siobhán saves Omid, but then she is infected by the monster. And when Omid and Siobhán spot a boat coming to their rescue, Siobhán realizes that she can’t, in good conscience, jump on board this boat. Why? Because she believes she’ll infect all of mankind. So, she dives down into the water, and swims down to say hello to the beast that has killed her, and drowns. Roll credits.
A Few Thoughts on Sea Fever
Okay. I could say that my first thought on this, is that this movie is a metaphor for the real life experience that we are all going through right now. Covid-19 and the Coronavirus. Maybe? Or maybe I could say that this movie is actually more about the fact that this is more about a group of people chasing an impossible dream, only to be dashed on the rocks. They were overcome by their hubris, and pride, and they were brought low by nature. Worse! They were brought low by the supernatural!
I loved everything about this movie, EXCEPT, it really did cookie cutter the movie Life, and Alien, and even Avatar! and a million other brilliant thrillers. You know? Yes, it was in a new environment. And a new context. But ultimately, we’ve seen this exact same movie before. And yet, I still enjoyed it. It was a scary ride for me. I did not like those eviscerating sperm things. Not one bit. Anyway, it’s good enough to tide you over during your quarantine anyway. I’m not going to apologize for the recommendation.
Edited by: CY