The film opens with what feels like a notable nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat as we are greeted with a group of survivors floating in a life raft, having escaped from their torpedoed hospital ship. They have no food, no water, and are close to giving up when a small thread of hope arrives in the shape of a German U-Boat, but what lies aboard is a descent into hell where the battle of survival has just begun.
Like Lifeboat, the group are at odds with one another and suspicious of some among them including Russian POW, Alexander (Alex Cooke), who happens to be a crack shot with a rifle and probably the most natural survivalist of the crew. Also casting a dubious past to his character is the token Brit, the weedy Gerard Faraday. Leading the charge is Nathan Sinclair (Nathan Philips) who captivates the viewer with his magnanimous presence and die hard attitude, but when they are faced with an unknown evil presence onboard the ship, they must learn to put aside their differences and look to unite if they are ever going to make it through “this bloody war”.
It is Alyssa Sutherland (Vikings), that the audience really gets behind however as the heart of the crew and it helps that she is a ‘medic” who has a pained past with a desire to heal everyone. She really captures the attention which is a testament to her on screen appeal and her weight as an actor, pulling you into the storyline and connecting with her character.
This is also a huge accomplishment of Justin Dix’s cinematic gaze for his sophomore outing in the director’s chair. Dix manages to craft a highly engaging storyline, that is essentially vampires on a boat, using his incredible skill set with visual and creature effects to boost the appeal above and beyond the usual fanfare.
The screenplay which is also overseen by Dix and his co-writer, Jordan Prosser, weave together enough ups and downs and moments of turmoil for the crew, as they fight against the odds. A massive plus is that we’re presented with characters that are incredibly believable, and with whom you want to see survive, when you know in your heart simply ain’t gonna happen, and in doing so casts you at odds as you also secretly want their demise to come.
Hands down, Director Justin Dix has crafted a highly engaging, action-packed thrill ride with characters that you care for.
Combined with some decent effects and a creative storyline, Dix has in my humble opinion put himself and his production company Wicked of Oz firmly on the map.
A must see film that will definitely entertain.
- Saul Muerte
Available on DVD at JB Hi Fi and Sanity
and Video on Demand through iTunes/Google /Fetch/Foxtel Store/Umbrella Entertainment from August 5th.