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The Ferryman
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The Ferryman More at IMDbPro »

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40 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

One hellish boat-trip to the Other Side!

7/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
12 April 2007

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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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Underrated Horror Movie

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
21 January 2010

In New Zealand, the couples Tate (Sally Stockwell) and Chris (Craig Hall) and Kathy (Amber Sainsbury) and Zane (Julian Arahanga) come to the yacht Dionysus to sail to Fiji Islands in a romantic trip. The skipper Big Dave (Tamer Hassan) and his girlfriend Suze (Kerry Fox) welcome the quartet with their beloved dog Rolex. On the second day, the Dionysus receives a distress signal in Morse code and Dave head to a mysterious fog to help the ship. They find a fishing boat adrift and Chris and Zane row a small boat to the vessel to avoid reefs. They find a crew member (John Rhys-Davies) near death and they bring him to Dionysus. Sooner they discover that the man is possessed of a demon and he uses a dagger to cheat death and switch bodies with his victims.

"The Ferryman" is an underrated horror movie based on the legend of the Greek mythology of Charon or Kharon, the ferryman of Hades that carried the souls across the River Acheron to reach the world of the dead. His payment was a coin in or on the mouth of the dead person. In the introduction of "The Ferryman", there is a narration in off telling that "in ancient times there was the legend of the Ferryman. He took the dead to be judged into the afterlife and his prize was a coin in their mouth. If anyone tried to cheat death, they would also be cheating the Ferryman and they could never escape for the Ferryman would hunt them forever." The screenplay combines the foregoing legend with "Dead Calm" and "Fallen" and the result is a good gore film. In the end, I was surprised since I had the lowest expectations based on the IMDb Rating. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Vingança do Demônio" ("The Revenge of the Demon")

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Missed the boat

4/10
Author: matt-ross-1 from Canada
24 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've just got in from watching The Ferryman and felt I had to vent my frustration. This film had the potential to be excellent, I think, but it's badly let down by quite a few key points. Based on the mythic character of the Ferryman from Greek legend, who's only task was to carry people across from the land of the living to the land of the dead (was it the river Styx?), the premise was that someone who had 'died', and so was bound to 'cross over', had found a way to cheat death and stay on this side of 'the river'. He hadn't, in essence, paid the ferryman. So far so good, and a great set-up for a film - the character was essentially on the run from death and had been for hundreds (or was it thousands?) of years. He could've made a killing on property, either way. Anyway, the plot device to drive this story, though, was a dagger that allowed the bearer to 'switch' bodies, and thus stay one step ahead of the punting ghoul with the invoice of the title. This dagger had NO connection whatsoever, as far as I could see, to the Greek myth. Fair enough if you're expecting the audience to buy into one 'fantastical' concept, but TWO,totally unrelated ones? Is there a dagger that transfers souls in Greek mythology? I don't know of one... I'm prepared to be corrected though. And don't get me started on where that coin came from, either. Or the kid... That's not even my main gripe though. Here's where I think the film really let itself down: as the characters stab each other with the knife, and so transfer the evil soul from body to body (Wes Craven's Shocker?), some of these incidents occur off camera. Brilliant idea. So you don't really know which character is the baddie, right? Wrong. But it's still a brilliantly tense situation where the audience is thinking 'is she just cracking under the strain of seeing someone get stabbed/being trapped on a boat in the fog/not knowing what's going on?' or is she in fact the evil entity, right? WRONG again. The baddie is flagged up every single time cos there's a ruddy great tattoo that appears on their back when they're possessed. Nice one, Mr Director. Why not just put them in a Hi-Vis vest with a rotating bow-tie? Apart from this, the acting from the high-maintenance blonde is titanically bad, as is the work from the Maori chap who's as wooden as the decking. The Ferryman himself gets about 5 minutes screen time, and seeing as how he's quite a terrifying looking chap, that's a Darth Maul-esqe waste. The direction in general is not dynamic enough, and some scenes linger a couple of painful seconds too long.. reminding me of the classically bad soap opera, Sunset Beach... but the music, and the performance of the bolshie Cock-er-ney captain were quite enjoyable. All in all, if you're after body-swapping horror, go for Denzel Washington in Fallen. That's got better music, too... Ti-i-i-ime, is on my siiide, yes it is....

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: The Ferrryman

7/10
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
28 October 2007

I have enjoyed limited movie offerings from New Zealand, with the likes of the romantic comedy Sione's Wedding and horror comedy Black Sheep, and for my horror double bill this weekend, I wouldn't have wanted to miss The Ferryman.

In western folklore, the Ferryman is the one responsible for transporting the dead to the nether realms, where souls would be judged (so you'd better start chalking up those brownie points). Ferrymen had been depicted in movies before, be they just a background character like in Woody Allen's Scoop, or becoming a point of contention in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies with crew of The Flying Dutchman. Think of it as the equivalent to the Chinese folklore characters of "Cow Head" and "Horse Face", where they will visit the body at the point of deaths to escort the soul to the depths of Hell for judgement.

2 couples (two of whom are Craig Hall and Amber Sainsbury whom we will get to see again in 30 Days of Night, in which Ben Fransham who plays The Ferryman will also appear) signs up for an adventure sail from New Zealand to Fiji, where a luxurious spa awaits their tired bodies after their "homestay on the sea" stint. Before everyone, including the captain his wife and their pet dog, can get chummy with one another, their ship receives a distress signal, and the laws of the sea dictates they get themselves into unknown trouble by picking up a survivor from a non-working vessel. And like all hitchhiker styled movies, there's always something strange about the hitcher (played by John Rhys-Davis) you pick up, especially when the weather's all foggy and he starts to give everyone the creeps.

The Ferryman turned out to be a rather interesting concept movie rather than outright horror with shock and awe moments. It doesn't scare, nor does it follow the recent trends in gore and with torture porn. What it's more akin to is a good old fashioned thriller with supernatural elements thrown in for good measure. Some might complain that nothing much really happens, with the usual hack and slash, but I'd argue that it had a very novel take on the theme of longevity, especially when it starts to play out in full. While it certainly isn't something new, the way it was executed (pardon the pun) mattered, and its ending will undoubtedly leave a wicked smile on your face, at what had transpired, and the loads of potential should you possess such capability.

Not without loopholes though, but I thought it could be glossed over given its supernatural slant, unless you choose to harp on it, especially when it didn't get developed properly. In short, The Ferryman still qualifies for an entertaining afternoon matinée when ticket prices are cheaper.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Average

6/10
Author: dschmeding from Germany
26 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie has been advertised as being pretty bloody. I don't know if my version was cut down, but at least mine wasn't by any of todays standards. The movie revolts around 2 couples taking a boat trip on the yacht of another couple (so you start off with 6 potential victims, he he). After introducing the characters with 1 annoying blonde and the angel in form of an ex-nurse with a back story they stumble across an abandoned boat where they pick up an old sailor who soon starts the countdown from 6 down. By stabbing people with an ancient knife he is able to switch bodies and seems to have done so for a while angering death (here of course in form of the ferryman who is implemented into the movie as halfhearted as the nurses past). So the body-hopping starts pretty fast and the way it is executed is the most interesting thing which keeps the movie entertaining. Its more about that subject than about the kills which happen rather secondary and the uncertainty of who is who and people trapped in other bodies seemed fresh to me.

I liked the premise of immortality by shifting bodies. Beside that there was some aspects reminding me of The Fog mixed in with modern Teenage-Slasher Films. But as much as I liked the premise there was some real annoying parts in "The Ferryman". The different stories and ideas were rather loosely tied together which made the script look like a fast shot. Also the women in this movie were clichéd and annoying in their permanent hysterical screaming... since it was both blondes who got that attribute its yet another cliché.

I think the movie could have gone somewhere, especially since I liked the ending but its too halfhearted in implementing its influences from here and there. That makes "The ferryman" a little more than average since it still manages to keep the attention until the end.

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14 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A Nice Change To See Something A Bit Different

7/10
Author: Nightmare-Maker (evilashshotgun@yahoo.co.uk) from United Kingdom, Colchester.
18 December 2007

I've had the DVD of THE FERRYMAN sitting in my pile of must sees for some time, for some unknown reason I've been putting it off. But finally got round to seeing it...and I really liked it! It's got a decent cast, the most familiar face to me was Tamer Hassan - from THE BUSINESS, and Julian Arahanga from ONCE WERE WARRIORS, but the acting was good all round I thought.

The film itself was way above average for a DTV movie, it looked like it had a few quid chucked at it, and was extremely well made.

It was quite creepy in parts, the setting on a yacht stuck in the fog in the middle of the ocean - at night, had the desired effect.

I'm not going to go into to much detail about the synopsis (thats available at the top of the title page), but if I had to compare it to something I would say it reminded me of THE HIDDEN... on a boat!

Im not sure of the UK release date, it was due out October time, but was withdrawn and hasn't had a re-release date, but keep an eye out for it.

If you've had enough of the countless remakes and slasher flicks that keep getting churned out - give this a try, you will do a lot worse i guarantee it.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Did I see the same move as the other reviewers??

1/10
Author: innocuous from Raleigh, NC, USA
7 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm confused. Several other reviewers have written fawningly of how great the plot concept of this movie is. Say what? Yes, several cultures have a "ferryman mythos", wherein souls are ferried across a river in return for a coin or piece of gold. But this movie has nothing whatsoever to do with that mythic element. Instead, this "Ferryman" apparently just takes over the bodies of others in order to avoid having to be ferried at all.

The idea of a basically immortal entity taking over other bodies in order to survive for centuries is simply too old of a plot element to be worth noting. This movie fails on several levels...one of which is an absolute lack of originality.

Other than that...the acting is bad, the dialogue is absurd, and there is no tension or suspense.

Not worth renting.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

i have seen that face before

5/10
Author: andrea-burche from Romania
29 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must say that I did like this movie,and especially the ending, BUT my opinion is that I've seen some idea some where before in other movies and the face of a character it has been used in other movies like this.

I've only got the main idea at the ending of it when it gives the explanations and the reasons. There is a funny moment too at the beginning when the fishing is taking place, it's rather about what they catch :)).

I say that the movie has a lack of originality, but I did like the acting after all! Anyway I say it's a good easy movie after all, but if you look for getting scared an horrified, if you are one of the kind that loves the thrill when watching a good horror movie, well there isn't much in this one but, like I said it's a good easy movie.

All in all I say..Have fun while watching!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Solid horror flick based on Greek myth of Charon.

7/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
2 March 2009

Three couples embark on a six day romantic boat journey to Fiji and their differences ensure that personality clashes abound.However all that is put to one side when they encounter a seemingly abandoned boat in dense fog.They find a living stranger on board and rescue him,however the terrifying consequences lead to plenty of gore.It seems that the ship is deserted apart from the mysterious sailor lying half-dead under a tarpaulin(played by horror regular John Rhys Davies).Rhys-Davies' body is actually home to a being who can shift between bodies swapping souls.This soul-swapping is achieved with the aid of the magic dagger-if he stabs somebody with it,he instantly becomes the victim.He's doing this to avoid a demonic entity called 'the Ferryman' who has been chasing him through thousands of bodies over many years.In "The Ferryman" each victim in turn becomes the killer.The killer always has a snakelike tattoo on their back,which is the symbol of infinity.During the first 40 minutes the action moves slowly and the legend of Ferryman is slightly confusing.Still I enjoyed this quite exciting,gripping and bloody horror flick.7 out of 10.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The Ferryman

Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
6 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Crew on a yacht voyage from New Zealand to Figi run into a creepy fog that never seems to lift and find a mysterious ship adrift with an equally strange survivor on board. This mysterious survivor(John Rhys-Davies)is actually merely a human host for this benevolent male spirit who moves from body to body to escape the Ferryman using this unusual knife as passage. We watch as members of the crew fall one by one as the spirit flees one individual into another to escape possible harm..the chilling part of the film is how this person treats those he harms, seemingly enjoying his handiwork as others die not knowing who is the one invaded. The evil spirit is cunning and devious and uses his element of surprise(like a pod alien, he can leap into a new human host tricking those around him)for a violent advantage.

When the male spirit switches bodies with vacationer Zane(Julian Arahanga), he tosses the cancer-ridden Greek overboard. Zane will swim to the other ship and his expertise in driving and maintaining water vessels will come in handy as he follows close behind the yacht. He has a wife on board, Kathy(Amber Sainsbury)who is suffering horrifying memories regarding the death of a badly facially scarred girl and this drives Zane to continue. Meanwhile, his body is being used and dumped by the spirit as body-switching occurs until there are few characters left in the film.

If one can get past the silly premise of the Ferryman, coin, and knife that causes body exchange, then there's some intense entertainment in store. I felt as I watched it that there will undoubtedly be a few rolling their eyes and shrugging their shoulders at the whole film. But, the spirit is pure evil and seeing the cast change personalities as the body switching takes place(adopting the "Ten Little Indians" theme)is kind of fun. We see the violent carnage that occurs as he enjoys destroying others both physically and psychologically.

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