In a stormy sea at night, a fishing boat is pummelled by the waves, and onboard there is a furious fight taking place between the captain (John Rhys Davies) and the only other man left who is demanding he turn the craft around and head back. The captain refuses, fires a harpoon at his attacker, and is stabbed for his trouble with a distinctive-looking knife, but when he pulls it out it leaves no wound. The captain seems to have undergone a personality change as he hacks up the attacker with a machete - he doesn't seem to be the same person at all...
Scripted by Nick Ward from a story by him and producer Matthew Metcalfe, The Ferryman is that old horror movie favourite, gather your ensemble cast in an isolated situation and terrorise them. The situation in this case being a yacht on its way from New Zealand to Fiji, taking two holidaymaking couples there for a vacation. There is a gimmick this time, though, and it takes a long time to work out exactly what it is as the film is in no hurry to reveal it; if you can work it out from the prologue then you really are paying attention. It's all about the evading Ferryman of Greek Mythology as the title suggests, who is some sort of bogeyman here, but only briefly seen.
The main villain is someone we never see the real face of, however. But before all that, our crew and passengers are enjoying their trip and fishing for dinner when one of them hooks a shark. Enough for all of them, they think, but when the skipper, Big Dave (Tamer Hassan), cuts it open, what do you know? A human arm falls out, presumably left over from the hacking we saw in the prologue. For some reason they don't contact the authorities and instead carry on their merry way, feeling more sickened perhaps, until they meet a bank of fog and hear a distress signal over the radio.
Big Dave doesn't listen to the protests of the passengers who want to ignore it, and soon they are close by the fishing boat. There they find the captain - or do they? They bring him aboard and he is grateful to be saved, and is jolly enough until he starts coughing up blood. After being examined by ex-nurse Kathy (Amber Sainsbury), he finds out he has cancer, and soon he is attacking Kathy's boyfriend Zane (Julian Arahanga) with the special knife. The captain is thrown overboard by Dave, and Zane seems to make a remarkable recovery, but there's something different about him... Once you understand what's going on here there aren't many surprises, although you may wonder why the killings continue (it doesn't make much sense), but this is a fair suspense movie that picks off its characters one by one in time-honoured tradition. Music by Haim Frank Ilfman.