Sea Fever (2019)

Directed by Neasa Hardiman [Other horror films: N/A]

I forget when I first heard about Sea Fever, but from the beginning, I was intrigued. It was partially the poster, partially the title font, and of course, the plot sounded like it had potential. Well, the movie isn’t amazing, but I did find it quite decent, and personally, I found a mostly solid movie.

Never having heard of any of the actors or actresses here, I was impressed by just how quality some of them were, especially Hermione Corfield. She may be younger than me by a month and a half, but boy, what a stellar performance. I actually rather liked her anti-social character, and got a kick out of her being thrown in a situation where she had to interact with others, despite her utter disinterest in doing so.

Of course, most of the cast is strong – though I don’t know the names, the performances by individuals such as Jack Hickey, Dougray Scott, Connie Nielsen, Ardalan Esmaili, and Olwen Fouéré were all worth seeing. It’s also nice that we got a decent amount of personality from each of these characters, which isn’t always a given with movies featuring a smaller cast.

It is true that the story itself isn’t altogether that amazing, but I do think aspects here are there are well-done, such as Corfield’s character diving beneath the trawler and seeing quite a terrifying creature (one of only two full appearances, which is something else I appreciated – they didn’t overdo it), or the argument her character gets in with the others about quarantining themselves off.

As far as violence goes, there’s really only one scene that’s worth talking about, but I think it’s quite a great scene. Of course, any scene that has eyes bursting has to be quality, so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Oh, and during the ending credits, they played a totally thematically appropriate song titled “Shallows” by Daughter. I know Daughter only from a Sound Melody remix of the song “Medicine,” so I’m not really familiar with their untouched music, but this song was a fantastic way to close out the movie, and it’s somber and dark sound fit really well with the conclusion here.

For a movie that doesn’t possess a whole lot of originality, Sea Fever had a strong presence. Partially it’s from the fleshed out characters, and partially it’s due to really nice cinematography and a unique setting, and though it’s not a great movie, and maybe you can see the ending coming long before the movie ends, it was still a pretty fun ride, and I’d suggest giving it a chance if it sounds like it could be your type of thing.


Dementia 13 (1963)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola [Other horror films: The Terror (1963), Dracula (1992), Supernova (2000), Twixt (2011)]

This proto-slasher has always been interesting to me. I’ve never found it a great movie, and rarely have I found it good, but I do appreciate the combination of an old dark house mystery style of horror from the 1920’s and 1930’s with the emerging slasher (and arguably giallo) stories of the 1960’s. Dementia 13 isn’t a good movie, but I do think it’s one that’s certainly worth experiencing.

Obviously this isn’t H.G. Lewis – there’s no excessive gore here, and in fact, barely any gore at all. It’s also black-and-white, and focuses more on the atmosphere than it really does the kills. That said, we do get some okay kills here (by an unseen assailant with an ax), and some skin from Luana Anders (no nudity, of course, but solid, smooth skin), and the mystery is almost fun, so that helps also.

William Campbell and Bart Patton were decent as brothers, but I sort of wish we saw more of them actually acting like brothers as opposed to feeling like two people who live in the same house without ever seeing each other. Though now that I think about it, the house is certainly large enough to warrant that excuse. Either way, both were decent, but I don’t think either one was all that amazing.

Neither Mary Mitchel or Luana Anders were really all that special, either – Anders might get higher accolades, though, as her character actually did something. Patrick Magee (who’s been in quite a few horror films, Tales from the Crypt being the role I’m most familiar with) was okay, but he felt a bit over-the-top here, and almost intentionally sinister (and whether or not that’s a red herring, well, you’ll see).

It’s the atmosphere of this one I’ve always liked, and while the mystery is okay, I don’t know if the ending is entirely satisfying, and I wish maybe a few more twists were thrown in. It’s not too hard to figure out the one behind these things, and I wish it were more of a challenge. Even so, Dementia 13 is a proto-slasher that is at least worth one look, if for no other reason, to see how far slashers have come in the years following Psycho and this one.