John Rhys-Davies, Kerry Fox and Tamer Hassan star in this New Zealand/UK co-production about a group of travelers on a yacht to Fiji, who answer a distress signal from a nearby boat. The group rescues an old Greek man and as they try to find out what happened to the rest of his crew, he flips out and stabs one of them. We soon learn (but it takes the characters nigh on an hour to realise) that the man had been possessed by an evil soul who feared death and as a result, has found a way of leaping into other people’s bodies to stay alive via a magical knife.
The Ferryman opens all dramatic and then looses it’s footing by taking quite a bit of time introducing us to the protagonists. The film has attracted a well-known cast most likely due to its somewhat original script. Whilst the story of the titular being is not a new one, I personally cannot recall ever seeing it re-created for film which is surprising, as we’ve encountered just about every other boogeyman in horror films by this point in time.
The biggest problem with this film in my opinion is the characters. Having his protagonists continually making stupid moves and not working things out sooner was a bad move on the scriptwriter’s part. Technically, the film does well. Boasting impressive sets and forcing the cast to brave the elements, the film pulls off it’s biggest challenge flawlessly, making us believe the film takes place out in the open on a real yacht. The FX work is largely of a high standard and the film is quite gory too.
The Ferryman is not as groundbreaking as it appeared to be but it’s still somewhat original. It does kind of play on themes present in other aquatic thrillers such as Dead Calm, Ghost Ship and Adrift, but its horror element is interesting enough to keep you watching.