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A voyage from New Zealand to Fiji aboard a large sailboat seems to be a perfect holiday until a mysterious mist appears on the second day and a distress call is picked up on the radio. Going to the aid of the ship in trouble the yacht comes across a drifting fishing boat, and find one lone survivor. When this man is taken aboard the yacht strange events begin to happen and people start acting as if they were not themselves. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reasonably good and old-fashioned scary demonic horror from New Zealand, "The Ferryman" occasionally succeeds in combining the claustrophobic atmosphere of "Dead Calm" with the 'do not even trust your loved ones'-suspense factor of "The Shining". This film features one of the most solid basic horror-premises in years, as it revolves on the ancient Greek myth of the ferryman who according to the legend needs to be paid in order to guide newly deceased souls over to the other side. For centuries already, one man always managed to escape death by constantly shifting into the bodies of unsuspecting tourists and seamen crossing the waters surrounding the New Zealand islands. He uses an uncanny old dagger to transfer his spirit into a new host and his unfortunate victims die in the old body. When a tourist yacht with six passengers on board rescues and old and sickly man during a storm, they don't realize their lives are endangered as he now has six vital and healthy bodies to choose from. The first 40 minutes of "The Ferryman" are a bit slow and uneventful, mainly because director Chris Graham spends too much time on the overly detailed and slightly redundant character drawings. We're getting rather useless information regarding the three couples' backgrounds and history. A good thing, however, is that none of the characters is your average slasher-stereotype. They're all realistic and likable (at least, most of them) people and not just dumb high-school students on their way to an island-party, or something. As soon as the eerie old man another great role for John Rhys-Davis plants his dagger in the chest of his first victim, "The Ferryman" turns into an exciting and spectacular horror film. Some of the death sequences regretfully take place off screen, but others are pretty gruesome and cruel. The titular ferryman only appears briefly at the beginning and the end of the film, but he's a traditionally nasty-looking monster with a rotting face and a hoarse voice. The inescapable location of a yacht in the middle of the open sea and often stuck in thick fog banks adds a great deal the atmosphere and the photography is beautiful. The last sequences on board the yacht, and particularly the ingenious epilogue, will undoubtedly please even the most skeptical horror fan. Recommended.
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