Sea Beast (Review)
When Sea Beast first showed up in the listings on SciFi Channel, no one had any idea what the movie was. Internet searches turned up nothing, SciFi.com had no info about the film at all, people were confused, and many wrote it off as a generic sea monster film that would just be terrible. It wasn’t until a week or two before it aired that commercials popped up and people realized Sea Beast was really a film called Troglodyte that had gotten some good buzz. What looked to be a less than stellar no-name film turned out to be a very entertaining entry into the SciFi Channel movie world. Yes, an entertaining SciFi Channel film. They do happen, people.
I was wondering why some of the sequences reminded me of Snakehead Terror, but then I realized it was because Paul Ziller directed both. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was filmed on the same spot. Snakehead Terror was pretty passable (and only looked bad when compared to Frankenfish), and Paul Ziller has also given us Beyond Loch Ness, which also gets good marks as a SciFi Channel film. I haven’t seen Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon or Ba’al or Polar Storm, so I can’t comment on if Ziller delivers all the time.
One thing that makes Sea Beast/Troglodyte so entertaining is Corin Nemec, who is becoming a regular starrer on the SciFi Channel network. S.S. Doomtrooper, Mansquito, and Raging Sharks are all previous entries from him. When Corin Nemec is on, he’s pretty darn good, and his fishing captain character Will is pretty likable. Just don’t call him Corky!
A rough night at sea ends with a man overboard for a CGI fishing boat. Except the storm isn’t what got poor Joey, it was a briefly glimpsed monster! Captain Will on the boat saw it, but he doesn’t believe it. The boat returns to shore without its catch, putting Captain Will deeper in debt. Will doesn’t know that his daughter Carly is dating a member of his crew named Danny, and she gets a hold of the keys for Will’s cabin retreat on an island. Carly, Danny, fellow crew member Drew, and Carly’s friend Erin are all supposed to spend the weekend together, but Drew first has to pull a night shift to earn some extra money. Considering how much Erin likes her iPod it is obvious that Drew’s entire paycheck goes to iTunes.
Will is hassled by Roy the jerk, who owns the papers for the boat instead of the bank for some reason. Will’s brother is Jay the Sheriff, who takes Will with him when he meets with a ecologist named Arden who has found a toxic algae in the water that may be what is killing the fish nearby and Will’s pocketbook at the same time. This toxic algae isn’t mentioned again despite it being a possible plot point. But killer algae probably wouldn’t make a good SciFi Channel film. Or would it… Phytoplankton Terror: Quantum Chlorophyll!
Drew is on the docks when a transparent fishman hops up. It’s like Predator Mer-man! Drew gets spit on and starts stumbling around, then the Creature decloaks and tongues Drew a bit, then chomps! Will gets ready to take his boat out again, and finds goo on the dock where Drew is supposed to be. Will runs into Arden there, and the two find Drew’s arm in the water. Sheriff Jay has no clue what happened. Will shows Arden some goo residue on his boat from when the other crewman was killed, and it matches the goo found near where Drew was killed. Slimer, you’ve been a bad class 5 full roaming vapor!
On Cabin Island, Erin is mad at Drew for not showing up, but her anger is as short lived as she is due to the Creature stomping up and spitting on her. Then Creature Babies hop off of Mommy Creature’s back and start to eat Erin, as does Mommy. Will talks to another captain named Ben who became an alcoholic after he lost a crew member to a “shark” that wasn’t a shark, Ben refuses to help talk about the monster. Danny is getting firewood and is spotted by a Creature Baby, who bites him on the hand while he’s taking a cellphone picture, then runs away. You see, instead of biting the hand that feeds them, they just feed on hands.
Arden tells Will that the goo they found is a type of venom like that of the Sea Devil, a deep sea fish that can camouflage itself. This is a less than common name for the angler fish, which you have probably heard of. It is never explained how the deep sea creature is able to survive the pressure of the surface without exploding, how its human shape works when it lives underwater, why it evolved to spit venom when that would seem useless underwater, why a deep sea predator where there is no light would need chameleon effects, and why it has no bioluminescense. My guess is: aliens. Deep sea monster aliens.
The van right next to Will and Arden as they talk gets attacked by the Creature. When that van is a rockin’, the Creature comes a’knockin’! Will chases after it with a gun as it cloaks and hops from tree to tree. Will fires into the air and almost hits some random fishermen. I though they would call him crazy because of that but they didn’t mention it.
Sheriff Jay thinks his brother sounds crazy, but organizes some hunters anyway to go looking. At the meeting drunk Ben tells his story about how he lost a crewman also and backs up Will. Danny’s bite is getting infected, but the boat is missing and they are trapped on the island where the cabin is. With no cell phone reception. Isn’t that always the way? If your cell phone ever stops working, just relax, because you’re probably trapped in a horror film and will be dead soon. Will and Ben meet with Arden, who is going to go diving looking for the Creature, so they go with her.
The hunting party of four (Sheriff Jay, Roy the jerk, and two redshirts) finds a fresh carcass (deer) where the Creature is waiting. One hunter gets slimed and chomped! Another gets tongue-grabbed and chomped! Jay sees the creature, and Roy shoots it, only to have it come back to life and strangle him with its tongue. The scene cuts out before we find out the fate of Sheriff Jay.
Under the sea, Arden finds no accusations just friendly hatched eggs of the Creature Babies. On Cabin Island, a Creature Baby grabs Danny’s leg, but Carly tosses a rock on its tongue and the Creature Baby hurts itself upon tongue retraction (this is a neat touch.) In the cabin, they gather fishing gear to make weapons, and begin fighting them off outside a window. Creature Babies die by harpoons, knives, and electrocution, but more swarm in on the ground floor, so Carly and Danny hide in the bathroom.
At the dock, Ben’s drinking has gone to his head, as he sets up a trap by the dock using fish heads as bait, including smearing himself with fish blood and getting into a cage. Extreme fishing! Do the Dew! The Creature beheads the dockmaster (Gwynyth Walsh, B’Etor from Star Trek) and Ben shoots it with a harpoon, but gets spat on with venom for his trouble. Will finds his brother dead in the woods, and when he returns to the docks Ben is dead as well, but untouched, as he died from the venom but couldn’t be eaten while in the cage. The harpoon Ben shot into the Creature was armed with a tracking device, Will discovers this when he finds Ben’s GPS tracker. The Creature is heading to the island where the cabin is! Maybe he should have armed the harpoon with poison, also.
Carly and Danny leave the cabin on the island to head to a wrecked ferry that might have a radio, the Creature Babies downstairs have all left, but one leaps from a tree to attack them, Danny axes it a question and it loses its head over ordeal. On the ferry, the radio battery is dead, so they find some flares and shoot one up. Will and Arden see it while searching the cabin looking for them.
The Creature begins calling for her babies by the ferry, and they begin to gather up. So these underwater creatures communicate by howling? Carly is locked in a room while Danny tries to find out what is going on, so of course a Creature Baby starts to get in via a vent. Will and Arlen find Danny, but he gets grabbed by the Creature’s tongue seconds after. Oh, Danny boy. The tongue, the tongue is calling…
Carly has to fight baby creatures popping out of the vent one by one with her axe like this is some sort of arcade game, except she’s not playing for tickets to exchange for spider rings and giant combs, she’s playing for keeps! She gets rescued by Will and Arlen, but on the way out of the boat they stumble across a bunch of eggs in the hull. The boat is pregnant! Oh, wait, it is the Creature’s babies. Since the Creature is based on angler fish, remember that the female angler fish are huge, while the males are only three inches long and become parasites to the female, eventually being partially absorbed so they are really one creature. So the Creature has a tiny male Creature hanging off of her somewhere.
Luckily, Will knows there is some acetylene tanks still around that should be powerful enough to blow everything up, eggs, Creature, and Creature Babies. He sets up some crazy rope contraction with the acetylene tanks and soaks the rope with gasoline. Will is like MacGuyver! Where there is a Will there is a way. He tells Arden to take Carly off the boat, but the Creature shows up too soon. Arden and Carly run, and Will starts to activate his Rube Goldberg Monster Destroying Contraption, but he gets caught by the Creature’s tongue before he can escape. Will burns off the tongue with his cigar, but by then the trap is sprung and things go explosive. But Parker Lewis can’t lose, and Will is alive! Who says tobacco kills? At the end, Arden and Carly are now the new crew of Will’s boat, and they live together happily ever after for another few years before Will has to close up shop due to overfishing. But he should be rich from selling those corpses of the Creature Babies that were lying around his cabin for tons of money on eBay, so he’ll be all right! Go, Will!
Sea Beast was pretty entertaining. It wasn’t the best SciFi Channel film, but it wasn’t terrible. Being non-terrible is an achievement of itself, so kudos to Sea Beast for being above average! I’d actually watch it again, something that you can’t say about a lot of these films, but not too often. The ending with the crazy rope and tanks trap is memorable, and I liked the creature design. I only wish they had the creature do glowing effects as well, as there aren’t enough bioluminescent monsters on film. Still, watch this over most SciFi Channel films. I know you check them out.
Rated 7/10 (WhatEVER!, An Al Bundy clone in the wild, perfectly invisible, I got an idea to catch it!, Why is my idea cutting my own chest open?, The House of Duras is about to lose on of its heads, Sea Ostriches?)
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