THE FERRYMAN: Gory Enough For Thrill-Seekers
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? "The Ferryman" opens with a fishing boat being tossed about on a stormy sea at night. On board, the captain and his passenger are fighting, resulting in one of them being brutally hacked with a machete. Next, it is a sunny day at a New Zealand coast where a bunch of holidaymakers are getting ready for their five-day yacht trip to the Fiji islands. Cheery tour guide Suze (Kerry Fox) introduces her skipper hubby Dave (Tamer Hassan) to her guests: Chris (Craig Hall) and his demanding girlfriend Tate (Sally Stockwell), and Maori Zane (Julian Arahanga) and his fiancee Kathy (Amber Sainsbury), a former nurse who blames herself for the death of a young girl.
With the crew and passengers looking forward to partying during the trip, they all try to ignore the first signs of trouble: a severed hand found in the stomach of the shark they caught, a gloomy shroud of fog on the horizon - and a disturbing distress call from a boat nearby. Well, they could not simply ignore the call for help but when they respond, they manage to rescue a gruffy Greek man (John Rhys-Davies) whose presence on the boat soon turns menacing. Apparently, the Greek is carrying the spirit that owes the Ferryman his coin - and he will be moving from body to body to avoid paying up.
HITS & MISSES: The good news (for those who like blood and gore, that is) is that there are seven healthy bodies (including a dog) on board to facilitate the ensuing slasher-pic mayhem, but the bad news is that the plot doesn't make any sense. Director Chris Graham takes the classic plot of putting six people in a confined situation and then introducing a killer in their midst. He provides enough tension and eye candy shots, the usual relationship betrayal schtick, and lots of spurting blood to energise the screen.
As a slasher movie, this one works because of the cast and well-defined characters. We do not demand much from the B-list cast (except for Rhys-Davies) but they manage to surprise us with their performances. Stockwell and Hall provide enough sparkle and sparks to sustain our interest while Sainsbury has our sympathy as the nurse with a skeleton in her closet.