×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Ferryman

A Greek legend is transported to the Land of the Long White Cloud with reasonably entertaining results in the energetically paced Kiwi-Blighty horror pic "The Ferryman."

With:
With: Kerry Fox, John Rhys-Davies, Sally Stockwell, Amber Sainsbury, Tamer Hassan, Craig Hall, Julian Arahanga, Lawrence Makoare.

A Greek legend is transported to the Land of the Long White Cloud with reasonably entertaining results in the energetically paced Kiwi-Blighty horror pic “The Ferryman.” Toplining Kerry Fox as a pleasure cruise operator whose vessel is possessed by a distinctly displeasured demon, solid genre fare helmed by Chris Graham (“Sione’s Wedding”) will travel well on ancillary, with limited offshore moorings a possibility following late October release in New Zealand. Fests with midnight slots should also take a look.

Titular beastie, based on the mythological transporter of the dead, doesn’t make an appearance until the final reel, but his bidding is done well enough in the meantime by a yachtload of passengers en route from New Zealand to Fiji.

Sans opening titles, the film gets down to business with a gruesome fight on board a ferry that ends with the Greek (John Rhys-Davies) chopping up his adversary’s body and hurling the pieces in the direction of a shadowy figure holding a lamp.

Action switches abruptly to bright sunshine on the coast of New Zealand and the even brighter disposition of Suze (Kerry Fox), a super-cheery tour boat guide who runs a happy ship with beefy Cockney partner Big Dave (Tamer Hassan). Booked for the latest five-day jaunt are Chris (Craig Hall), a clean-cut American; Tate (Sally Stockwell), his demanding g.f.; Zane (Julian Arahanga), a handsome Maori; and his beau Kathy (Amber Sainsbury), a former nurse who blames herself for the death of a little girl.

Unperturbed by the discovery of a human hand in a shark they’ve caught, the group carries on merrily before answering a distress signal and sailing into a special-effects cloud that’s been doing the rounds since John Carpenter’s “The Fog.” Rescue operation produces the Greek, whose presence on board quickly turns menacing. It seems he’s carrying a spirit that owes the Ferryman his famous coin, and is leaping from body to body to avoid ponying up the cash.

Soon, everyone takes a turn being possessed by the cursed entity, which shows a rather disturbing fondness for visiting nasty violence upon female characters. Coming off best in the mayhem is Hall, who puts plenty into Chris’ transformation from nice guy to bad ol’ boy. Top-billed Fox remains a bystander much of the way, leaving it to Kathy to exorcise her own demons and extinguish another in the process.

Plot and character rarely rise above functional, but the screenplay does have some intriguing psychosexual undercurrents, and Graham produces enough vigorous action to leave genre buffs satisfied, if not ecstatic.

Lensing in confined spaces by Aaron Morton is clean and lively, with some nice exterior atmospherics adding flavor to the tale. Commissioned score takes a backseat to a jukebox’s worth of prime New Zealand pop hits of the past 20-plus years. Rest of tech work is seaworthy.

The Ferryman

New Zealand-U.K.

Production: An Atlantic Film Prods. (U.K.)/General Films Corp. (New Zealand) production, presented by New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand Film Production Fund Trust, in association with Presence Film Partners and Lip Sync Prods. (International sales: New Zealand Film Commission, Wellington.) Produced by Matthew Metcalfe, Alan Harris, Richard Fletcher. Executive producers, Tim Smith, Paul Brett. Directed by Chris Graham. Screenplay, Nick Ward.

Crew: Camera (color), Aaron Morton; editor, Nigel Galt; music, Frank Ilfman; production designer, Gary Mackay; costume designer, Gavin McLean; sound (Dolby Digital), Mike Westgate; casting, Liz Mullane (New Zealand), Dan Hubbard (U.K.). Reviewed on DVD, Pusan, Oct. 9, 2007. (In Pusan Film Festival -- Midnight Passion.) Running time: 100 MIN.

With: With: Kerry Fox, John Rhys-Davies, Sally Stockwell, Amber Sainsbury, Tamer Hassan, Craig Hall, Julian Arahanga, Lawrence Makoare.

More Film

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content