Sea Beast


Now available on DVD


Corin Nemec as Will

Miriam McDonald as Carly

Daniel James Wisler as Danny

Camille Sullivan as Arden

Directed by Paul Ziller


Sci-Fi (now Syfy) Channel movies are not for everyone. Much-maligned in the horror community, they are the genre’s embarrassing family member, the one no one wants to talk about. This horror fan believes they get a bad rap. While many of the common complaints about them are true, these movies have their charms. Many of them are goofily entertaining. While I won’t be attempting to convince anyone that they are good films per se, they are unpretentious and brazenly inane. Sometimes that is a welcome change from the solemn and self-important junk masquerading as modern horror. I will gladly take a Sea Beast over Halloween 2007 or a Saw sequel.

Speaking of Sea Beast, it is an archetypal Syfy Channel movie in every way. Watching it will give one a very good idea of what to expect from the channel’s “original” offerings. This is copy and paste cinema. Borrow a little Predator (camouflage monster) here, take a little The Perfect Storm (struggling fisherman) there, throw in a sea creature, and press blend. There is a precise formula to these movies and they rarely deviate from it.

Sea Beast concerns a remote fishing community with a problem. Something is killing the fish and local fishermen like our hero Will (Corin Nemec) are suffering. Will’s latest catch was low and he lost a crew member at sea. He needs to go out again, but he is behind on the payments for the boat he uses. Will is your average Syfy protagonist. A single dad, a little down-on-his-luck, a working class guy smarter than he appears. The rest of the usual characters are present as well. Will has a pretty daughter dating a local who works for him. There is the attractive marine biologist who surprisingly isn’t a love interest. There’s also the town drunk and even a token minority for good measure.

Of course the titular creature is responsible for the fish shortage. Soon they are behind carnage on land as well. Will must find a way to dispose of the nasty critters and rescue his daughter, who is trapped in a cabin with her boyfriend.

While the first half of the movie is a bit boring, it comes to life in the second half. Those unfamiliar with Syfy flicks might find themselves surprised by the copious amounts of gore in them. Sea Beast features creature attacks that leave the insides of its victims strewn about. There’s also a cool (if derivative) sequence where a beast bites a woman’s head clean off. The abundant CGI ranges from laughable to decent, which is typical.

If you scoff at the very existence of Syfy movies, steer clear. If you can tolerate cheesy horror, you could do worse. These movies are an acquired taste. They are definitely not for everyone. They are also hard to defend and their appeal is difficult to articulate. I love creature features, even not-so-great ones. The no fuss, low-tech nature of Syfy movies can be fun in a shut your brain off kind of way. Sea Beast is an average outing for the network. It has its moments but ultimately follows the formula too closely. Just a tad more inventiveness would have gone a long way.