Tuesday, May 31, 2016

SyFy vs. The Mynd: The Sea Beast (2008)

After a barely visible sea monster drags one of his sailors down to the bottom of the sea during a storm, fisherman Will McKenna (Corin Nemec) and the island community he makes his home in are beset by the monster and its brood. Turns out there are largely humanoid (though the characters say they look like anglerfish for some reason) amphibious, poison-spitting, practically invisible via super-chameleonism fish-frog creatures with prehensile tongues living under the sea. And the way they can jump, you might as well add flying to their grab-bag of superpowers.

The usual assortment of things in this kind of SyFy Channel movie happen, until things are put right again with a big damn explosion.

For the longest time, veteran SyFy director Ziller’s monster movie is a bit too bland for my tastes. I’m all for a film of the sub-genre not doing the whole “monster fighting brings an estranged family back together” thing but The Sea Beast doesn’t replace that set of tropes with anything specific at all, so that we end up with about an hour of characters without character traits doing stuff while from time to time a not terribly exciting monster attack happens. Ziller is a competent enough director to not make this part of the film too boring but actual excitement does live elsewhere.

It is worth it to get through that long slog of mediocre CGI and non-existent writing, though. For while the final half hour of the film leaves plausibility even further behind than the random ensemble of the powers its creatures (who are, by the way, alas not Lovecraftian Deep Ones) demonstrate already do, it does get into some rather fun monster fighting, with CGI creatures – as well as one surprise rubber head – getting dispatched in all manner of silly yet fun ways. There’s a decent pocket version of a siege scenario, some moments that amount to actual tension, and Corin Nemec as well as Miriam McDonald - who is playing his daughter – doing their damndest to work up to mini action hero status. It’s somewhat adorable and definitely fun, and while this isn’t rocking my SyFy Channel Original world, a merry final half hour of fun does turn The Sea Beast into a watchable piece of celluloid/ones and zeroes.

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