THE FERRYMAN opens with scenes recalling the finale of Scorsese's overblown CAPE FEAR remake: two men wrestle each other on a boat, crashing against the waves in the middle of a night-time rainstorm.

A quick flash-edit designed to confuse the viewer suggests that a demon is transferred from one man to the other, and the skipper of the boat - known only as The Greek (John Rhys-Davies, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS) appears to be possessed as he hacks his opponents limps off. Hold the limbs aloft and showing them to a lit-up boat approaching in the distance, The Greek cries "You want your payment? Here's your fucking payment!".

As opening scenes go, it grabs the attention quite well. But then the action shifts to "New Zealand, Present Day" and a jeep of five young adults making their way to a secluded beach.

The group consists of Chris (Craig Hall, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT), his sexy partner Tate (Sally Stockwell, HOPELESS), Kiwi couple Zane (Julian Arahanga, EAGLE VS SHARK) and retired nurse Kathy (Amber Sainsbury, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT), and Suze (Kerry Fox, SHALLOW GRAVE; INTIMACY).

They've arrived on the beach to meet up with Suze's husband, loudmouthed Brit Dave (Tamer Hassan, THE BUSINESS; LAYER CAKE). He runs tours of New Zealand on his yacht and wastes no time at all in telling the party to get their bags on his vessel.

Dave tells the group they're about to embark on a 6-day trip to Fiji, which sounds pretty exciting (and equally dreadful - 6 days of Dave? God help them).

Later that day, after a few champagnes, the group indulge in a spot of fishing on the yacht. They catch a small shark, which Dave shoots in the head and asks Zane to gut it for cooking. Zane obliges, and the group are horrified when a dismembered hand falls from the shark's stomach. We know, from the watch around the wrist, that the hand belongs to the man hacked apart by The Greek in the opening scenes ...

The next morning, everyone seems to forget about their grisly find and they continue enjoy relaxing on the yacht. That is, until Suze picks up a distress message in morse code and insists that they change their route to answer the call.

Much to the group's disgruntlement (well, Tate's, mainly), Dave heads for the troubled ship - through dark and misty waters. Eventually they see the distressed vessel but Dave, not wanting to get too close in case it's caught in a reef, asks Chris and Zane to check it out on a small rowing boat.

One the ship, Chris and Zane discover The Greek, and hurriedly take him aboard Dave's yacht for warmth and food. The Greek explains how his crew were all swept away by hideous winds, leaving only him to survive.

Later that night, The Greek takes ill and when Kathy inspects him she has the awkward task of informing him he has terminal cancer. The Greek responds with "So, I must die. I chose the wrong body". Which is a little odd, perhaps.

Not as odd as his behaviour later that evening when he interrupts an illicit meeting on the yacht deck between Tate and Zane, by stabbing Zane in the belly.

Dave manages to throw The Greek from his yacht, but far from their troubles being over, the group's night of terror has just begun. For Zane starts to act oddly, no doubt affected by another of those strange flash-edits that suggest a demon has jumped into someone's body ...

THE FERRYMAN isn't a very good film. It's not particularly scary (it seldom even tries to be), nor is it memorably graphic - there's the odd gory moment, but nothing particularly graphic or well executed.

Performances are quite naff throughout, with Hassan proving himself yet again to either be unbearably arrogant, or very good at playing unbearably arrogant. I guess it's a credit to him that I can't decide between the two - but, alas, he's unwatchable either way.

The characters in the main group are not remotely likeable, so how on Earth we're expected to fear for their safety is beyond me. I was merely disappointed that their ends weren't as gruesome as I felt they deserved.

The pace of the film rarely falters and the open expanse of watery visuals makes it frequently easy on the eye, but they are the only two plus points that spring to mind when considering this uninspired load of old tosh.

Unoriginal, tame and lumbered with a ham-fisted script, this goes nowhere and has no point whatsoever. More unforgivably, it's just not entertaining.

Poor Kerry Fox - she must hate Chloe Sevigny. Sevigny blew her then-boyfriend Vincent Gallo off for real in THE BROWN BUNNY and has seen her career go from strength to strength ever since. Two years earlier, Fox also put a tail in her mouth in the name of "art" for the well thought-of INTIMACY, and her career has nosedived to the level of THE FERRYMAN since. Where's the justice, eh?

Although this screener disc was very basic (no menus let alone extra features), it did offer the film uncut, and accessible via 10 chapters.

The picture was presented in 1.33:1, and was a little grainy and overly dark. Other than that, images were sharp and colours well-balanced.

The English 2.0 audio did a good job.

One you can probably live without.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Revolver
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review