A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sea Fever is a sci-fi horror movie about a mysterious sea creature that invades a fishing trawler and unleashes an infectious parasite. It's a simple, well-made chiller with a strong, relevant message about what it means to quarantine, as well as a smart, heroic female lead. Expect several strong scenes of blood and gore, dead bodies, and characters dying. Eyes explode and are stabbed, a hand is mangled, and more. There's also some punching, general terror, and tension. Language is very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "f--king," "bastard," "hell," and more. There's some background cigarette smoking. A couple briefly flirts and nearly kisses, but they're interrupted.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SEA FEVER, Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) is a marine biology student who's more comfortable with books than she is with people. Nonetheless, she's assigned to an Irish fishing trawler to assess the ship's fish haul. When she arrives, her long red hair, a bad omen among sailors, sets off alarm bells with the crew. But the captain, Gerard (Dougray Scott), and his wife, Freya (Connie Nielsen), head into an off-limits "exclusion zone" anyway, where the catch is plentiful and checks out just fine. Then, before long, a strange muck starts seeping through the hull. Siobhán dives in to the water to investigate, assuming it's just barnacles, but she finds something far more startling. Worse, a kind of parasite seems to be infecting the crew through the trawler's water supply.
Is it any good?
This well-made sci-fi horror movie provides its share of prickly dread and mysterious creatures, has a smart female hero, and addresses interesting issues around quarantining. Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman, Sea Fever makes terrific use of its locations -- the small trawler and the surrounding ocean -- effectively moving back and forth between cramped quarters below and open spaces above. In establishing Siobhán as shy and antisocial, the physical space on the ship around her can become either oppressive or comforting.
Sea Fever is compact and tightly paced, with a clever, enigmatic use of its monster. It suggests more than it shows, keeping the intrigue intact. The interesting cast, led by veterans Scott and Nielsen, help keep things afloat in general. It sometimes feels like certain elements were cut -- such as the idea of Siobhán's red hair being a possible harbinger of bad luck, which is introduced and then never brought up again. Still, her character comes to life as she overcomes her fears to argue for quarantining the unknown sickness, while others panic and wish to return to civilization. It's a powerfully relevant message.
Talk to your kids about ...
What does it mean to quarantine? What would happen if the characters went to a hospital? What was the right thing to do in this situation?
Is Siobhán a positive role model? How does she change over the course of the movie? What does she sacrifice? What are her faults?
How do the events of the movie compare with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic?
Have you ever felt shy like Siobhán? What is it like to be shy? Is it always a bad thing? What can you do to try to not be shy?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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