|Copyright 2008 Insight Film Studios & Cinetel Films
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 2 May 2012
- Will McKenna - He must have spent a lot of time playing "Mouse Trap" as a child, because his plan to kill the monster is ridiculously complicated.
- Carly McKenna - Will's daughter who is scared of pirates.
- Danny - His sordid weekend in a secluded cabin with his girlfriend turns out to be everything except sordid. He spends every waking moment collecting firewood, cooking meals, and doing other chores until the monster puts him out of his sexually deprived misery.
- Arden - Nine out of ten female marine biologists are natural blondes. Yes she is, but no she's not.
- Ben - Easily mistaken for Quint in a pinch if you squint.
- Sheriff Jay McKenna - Will's brother. His death leaves a big pair of shoes to fill, largely on account of that being all that the monster left of him.
- Drew - You are the only black man in the entire town. Of course you are going to die.
- Erin - Drew's girlfriend and similarly doomed.
- Roy - Such a jerk that the monster, which universally paralyzes its victims with venom before eating them, decides to choke him to death instead.
- The Sea Beast - "It" is obviously a "she" but we never see a Mr. Sea Beast, meaning that she is a single mother with ten thousand eggs. Good luck with that, girlfriend.
- The Sea Beast's Babies - Little creatures about the size of medium dogs.
|This film is one of the cookie-cutter monster movies produced by SyFy so it can claim to be something other than a delivery channel for "Ghost Hunters" and late night infomercials. All of these movies involve some sort of dangerous animal or legendary creature, and they often borrow ideas from genere classics such as "Jaws," "Alien," "Jurassic Park," "The Fly," and "Predator" (to name but a few of many borrowed from). This film is no exception to that rule, though for some unexplainable reason I do not find it as painful as many other SyFy movies.
No, really. I don't know why "Sea Beast" is any better than "Sand Serpents" to me. It would be like asking me which I like better, gonorrhea or chlamydia. If I have to pick between the two, I guess I'd have to say chlamydia. Why? I don't know! Both of them sound unpleasant, but I guess that chlamydia has a nice ring to it.
"Sea Beast" starts out with Will's fishing boat caught by a sudden storm. The crew struggles to pull in the last of the nets as heavy waves toss the boat. Our protagonist, the captain of his vessel, leaves his post at the wheel to help the men on the deck. That is the most irresponsible thing we see Mr. McKenna do in the entire film, and the result is exactly what anyone with nautical experience would expect. The boat hits a wave badly and everybody is thrown across the deck like ragdolls. Will smacks his big hunk of stupid (his head) hard, causing him to mistrust what he sees next. Will watches dazed as something emerges from the water and grabs one of the crew. What everybody decides must have happened is that a wave swept the poor man overboard. The boat returns to port one man short, but with an aquatic monster trailing along.
Once it arrives at the small fishing community, the Sea Beast goes on an eating binge. First, it surprises Drew while he is preparing the boat for its next fishing expedition. Distracted from his work by the sound of something splashing beside the dock, the young man discovers that amphibious troglodytes immobilize their prey with paralyzing spit. Yep, the Sea Beast hawks a big wet loogie into Drew's face and then waits for him to fall down.
Another trick that the Sea Beast employs is that it can turn invisible. Not entirely, mind you, more like the chameleon distortion employed by the alien in "Predator," but executed with less skillful effects artists. The scene with Drew is a perfect example of this, because the creature drags itself out of the water right in front of him. Standing on the dock, the Sea Beast is supposed to be invisible, but it is easy to see almost all of its features. What it looks like is a CGI wireframe set at 20% opacity. You and I can see the Sea Beast clearly, but Drew peers right at it without any recognition of what it could be. It's plain as day! Mr. Magoo isn't even that blind! Some of the later scenes look better, and the result is almost exactly like "Predator," but when the CGI bubbas get it wrong it makes the monster appear translucent instead of invisible.
Look, Marvel is never going to create a superhero whose power is the ability to become hard to see. Nobody wants to read about a man who can almost turn invisible. Although, that would allow the writers to burden Translucent Man with an inferiority complex. Geeks love protagonists with angst, so maybe if Translucent Man made a mistake that contributed to his father losing his job, it might be viable for four or five issues.
Even better, for the final issue Translucent Man could team up with Aquaman to stop an evil scientist who wants to use remote control hermit crabs to ruin the US Open. Ooooooh, that would be good.
When what is left of Drew is discovered the next morning, it causes quite a stir in the little fishing community. It also provides Will with another piece of the puzzle; he notices the puddles of slime that the creature left behind on the dock. In an older movie, the slime could be relatively effective in tantalizing the viewers about the monster's exact nature. Here it's just a waste. Nobody cares about the mysterious puddles of slime that the main character discovered. We, the audience, already know what the Sea Beast looks like. We're hoping that Will will see it soon, too, because us knowing more than Will is aggravating. Human instinct makes us want to tell Mr. McKenna that what killed Drew is a bipedal, venom-spitting monster that swam up from the ocean floor. Not being able to tell him is maddeningly frustrating.
Meanwhile, Carly, Danny, and Erin sneak off to Will's private cabin on a nearby island. Drew promised Erin that he would catch up with them in the morning, but by then he is rather dead. Erin does not know this, so she spends her morning on the beach, fluctuating between anger and despair over being stood up. The Sea Beast comes ashore with some babies in tow and eats Erin, saving the poor girl from her relationship-inspired misery.
You know, "Romeo and Juliet" would be more interesting with a giant man-eating frog.
Will finally encounters the Sea Beast when it kills a smooching couple in a minivan about ten yards away from where he and Arden are talking. He gets a good look at the thing before it turns almost invisible. Then the creature jumps into the trees, leaping from branch to branch like some sort of translucent lemur all the way to the water. McKenna shoots at it with his pistol, but all he manages to achieve is to scare the crap out of a pair of fisherman.
The Sea Beast swinging through the branches like a primate causes my ability to suspend belief to stop working. The creature probably weighs 250 lbs. It consistently jumps onto branches that are so small that if my eight year-old were climbing on them my wife would say "Jenna, that branch is not thick enough to hold your weight. You're going to break an arm or kill yourself. Come down." Meanwhile, my two boys are under the tree, throwing soccer balls and wiffle ball bats up into the branches and laughing like they don't have good sense.
I just channeled my wife channeling my grandmother. Scary.
At the cabin, Carly and Danny find themselves under siege by a whole herd (pack, flock, school?) of baby horrors. Since there are not any firearms at the cabin, the only weapons to be found are among fishing gear. The result is a ridiculous "arming up" montage as the pair grab every fillet knife and fishing gig they can find. The Sea Beast babies are not impressed by all the scary fillet knives and continue their attacks. If defending the cabin was left to Danny and his unsatisfied libido, then all would be lost. Carly saves the day by turning into a freaked out, blood-splattered, woman on a rampage. The resulting carnage surprises Danny, probably causing him to reconsider his relationship with such a dangerous girl.
Carly's Sea Beast baby-gutting rampage might explain why she rebuffed all of Danny's romantic advances. See, this light went on in my head. Maybe Carly is not playing impossible to get. What if she is menstruating? That would explain a lot.
The Sheriff, Roy, and a random local chase the Sea Beast into a section of forest. The creature's ability to turn invisible gives it a competitive edge over the humans, especially since none of them is carrying a gatling gun capable of saturating several hundred meters of forest with projectiles. Heck, I doubt that even Sea Beast-seeking missiles would help, because the humans are all idiots. They split up to chase the monster through the trees. By the time Will arrives, all that is left of his brother and the others is bloody body parts.
Back at town, Ben loses his mind. He welds together a cage and locks himself inside with a speargun. OK, that might not sound too crazy, but he also strips down to his skivvies and smears fish guts all over himself. Surely that is not the sign of a healthy mind. The crackpot scheme is not successful. When the creature appears it initially ignores the cage to bite the head off of the female harbor master. It's only after Ben manages to shoot a spear into the Sea Beast that it pays any attention to him. Since it cannot get into the cage, it spits venom all over the half-naked man and leaves him to die in slow agony. Cage = good idea. Half-naked = bad idea. What Ben should have done, instead of stripping down to his boxers, is cover himself up in raingear. A high-power rifle would have been a better choice than that stupid little speargun, too.
Without any way to contact the mainland, Carly and Danny leave the cabin behind. They trek across the island to an old ferry where they hope to find a radio. As soon as those two mentioned the ferry, I knew that the monster's nest was going to be inside. In fact, no matter where Danny and Carly decided to go from the cabin, it would be where the Sea Beast laid her eggs. I don't care if they were going to the abandoned Starbucks on the island, in hopes that the free WiFi was still running, that's where all of the eggs would be.
The good news is that Carly finds a flare pistol aboard the old ferry. While she locks herself in the ship's kitchen, Danny fires off a flare in the hope that someone will come to their rescue. Will and Arden see the flare; they get to the ferry just in time to see Danny eaten by the Sea Beast. They quickly run away. When they open the locked kitchen, they discover a gore-soaked Carly surrounded by a multitude of little babies that squirmed in through a duct only to be hacked to pieces by the young lady.
The money that Will had set aside for Carly's college is going to end up paying for her counseling instead.
As they attempt to disembark from the rusting old ferry, Will and the two women discover the nest. The mama creature hovers nearby, ready to attack if they try to escape or threaten the eggs, so Will sets an intricate trap that will destroy the eggs, kill the Sea Beast, and allow them to escape. It works, somehow. Even more incredible, Will survives the explosion that incinerates the Sea Beast and all of her eggs. I know that he can't lose, but Mr. McKenna should have woken up on a cloud with wings and a harp.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, "Sea Beast" is like almost every other SyFy original picture. It does turn out to be more enjoyable than others. Perhaps the characters, though sometimes being obvious copies from other, better films, are not as obnoxious. The special effects are also slightly above the normal level as well. Well, except for the hand puppet used in some scenes. The CGI beasts look a lot better than the hand puppets. I don't know whether I should congratulate the CGI artist or denounce the person responsible for those awful latex props.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:
- Hip waders can be just as sexy as chaps.
- Courage works best in concentrations of .12 and higher.
- The average eighteen year-old boy thinks that sex is more important than first aid.
- The average eighteen year-old girl thinks that puss is a total turn-off.
- Old fishermen are living museums for extinct styles of beards.
- A fish can play possum.
- Electric chairs are made out of tin.
- Blinking is a telltale sign of rigormortis.
- 31 mins - That is nothing strange, just an Irish Setter with the mange.
- 43 mins - Haven't you ever seen "Predator?" It's an invisible monster in a tree.
- 43 mins - For crying out loud, just shoot it!
- 45 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST FOLIAGE!
- 52 mins - I'm really digging the white pegboard motif that Barbara used to decorate her office.
- 63 mins - Why does it have to be all or nothing with you?
- 66 mins - And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why they call it the "chicken of the sea."
- 79 mins - Everything else on the old ferry has been ransacked, but nobody stole the valuable welding equipment. Really?
|Audio clips in wav format
|Starving actors speak out
|Will: "Listen to me! Whatever that thing is, it left some kind of disgusting slime on the dock right where it attacked Drew. I found the same stuff on my boat where it took Joey. I think this thing followed me back to town."
|Will: "So, did you figure out what that slime was from the dock."
Arden: "It's a toxin. Some form of venom, highly concentrated."
Will: "Venom, like from a sea snake?"
Arden: "More like what you find in an ambush predator, like a sea devil."
|Roy: "You guys want to grab your rods and your reels, go look for the Loch Ness Monster, you have your fun. I'm going hunting."
Sheriff: "Just hold on, Roy. Let's be smart about this."
Roy: "And what? You want to wait until more people die, Sheriff?"
Sheriff: "No, but we're going to do this together."
|Barbara: "Will, I need you to get back down here. Ben has gone over the deep end. He's building some kind of cage on the dock; he's setting himself up as bait."
Will: "I'm on my way."
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|Scenes from the movie
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|Erin gets eaten by Sea Mama and some of her babies.
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