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  Publicity Stills of "The Ferryman"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Chris Graham
Cast: John Rhys-Davies, Kerry Fox, Sally Stockwell, Amber Sainsbury, Tamer Hassan, Craig Hall, Julian Arahanga, Lawrence Makoare
RunTime: 1 hr 51 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: M18 (Violence and Coarse Language)
Official Website: www.theferryman-movie.com

Opening Day: 25 October 2007


A group of twenty-something's charter a boat to Fiji for the trip of a lifetime. Becalmed and trapped on a still, fog-filled ocean, the tourists respond to an SOS signal and innocently go to the rescue of what they think is a fellow sailor - a sick and dying man. Little do they know the man they've picked up, is an evil spirit who has been cheating death for centuries plying a self serving trade of broken bodies for new ones over many centuries.

Movie Review:

"...but the Ferryman is a stranded ship of a film tossing in the raging seas, waiting to lure unsuspecting and ill-discerning viewers who dare to risk its fare of cheesy, standard issue B-grade sexual horror overtures."

Its hard for anyone to justify giving a positive review to The Ferryman. Objectively, critically, there is little much to be said about this Australian film that is a slasher cum horror cum body-swapping, demon haunting film that reeks of straight to DVD material. It pained me to watch it - it should pain most discerning movie viewers. John Rhys-Davies is the key oarsman- the only big star in this film and he does a huge effort trying to restore some semblance of credibility to the movie. Rhys-Davies is the Greek, a man who wields a mythical blade with which he kills his victims and sacrifice them to a grim-reaper like character in order to cheat death.

The Ferryman is shot sufficiently well, yet seemingly film school production video at times. The actors and actresses possess distinctly strong Oceanic accents (Australian/NZ), it someone annoyed me a little. Authenticity needs to be balanced with production value - Ewan McGregor's Scotsman accent in Trainspotting was clear, impactful and colourfully enunciated, the actors in this film even look like they're from an 80's slasher flick. Anyone who's read my reviews know I'd gladly say the integrity and quality of my content guarantees any half-decent film receives a appreciative, close examination and discerning recommendation. The Ferryman simply can't justify itself.

The opening fight scene takes place on a yacht amidst tossing seas and giant waves, a thunderstorm illuminating the scene - the only light source. In overly jarring bright flashes- it was so extreme epilepsy warnings should be included- I was disturbed enough not to even feel bothered to figure what's going on. The scene is a microcosm of what's wrong about the whole film- you know before hand what is going to happen and its worsened by the film not even trying to make you want to anticipate and be engaged. The usual content fills the film - the holidaying group of five discover a hand within a shark they catch on the high seas to Fiji, setting of a whole train of disturbing events leading to their discovery of the shipwrecked Rhys Davies. Rhys Davies's character the Greek then proceeds to attempt to decimate the entire crew in attempt to "cheat death".

The premise of the conflict is simple enough to catch but disturbingly convoluted to understand, yet doesn't try to make sufficient sense. One knows how a film becomes lackadaisically scripted when basic understanding of the premise runs up to a paragraph. Simply put, the Greek's ship hides amidst fog in the sea both to hide from the grim reaper and to lure unsuspecting victims. Upon boarding our holidaying protagonist's ship, he proceeds to kill one, a strapping Maori of a man, before demanding the ship return to shore as soon as possible. Presumably to escape the reaper. Due to the fog, the ship captain refuses. In the resulting mess the Greek proceeds with carnage (goodness knows why) and remains trapped in the high seas leading to a messy end.

Amidst, screaming, yelling, B-grade torment that floods this film, we see a bit of sexual insinuation that seem inseparable from ridiculously disappointing horror flicks. One of the main female characters eventually strip at the LAST scene, in a setting that's probably the least likely scene to warrant nudity. A bid to save the film? Terrible.

The only decent thing about the film probably is the presence of panning shots of Australia/New Zealand/Fiji and even then, you probably could just catch an advertisement clip. Like Delta Goodrem's Tourism Australia clip. Ok I digress, but the Ferryman is a stranded ship of a film tossing in the raging seas, waiting to lure unsuspecting and ill-discerning viewers who dare to risk its fare of cheesy, standard issue B-grade sexual horror overtures.

Movie Rating:

(Row me away, to the banks o' River Styx, for death awaits me more honourably then a sorrowfully disappointing film)

Review by Daniel Lim

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