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Featured DVD Review: Sea Change

June 10th, 2018

Sea Change - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Video on Demand

Sea Change

Sea Change isn’t a movie, per say. It is a busted TV pilot. There are some stark differences between what makes a good TV pilot and what makes a good movie. Does it work as the former, but not the latter? Does it work as neither?

The Movie

The film begins with a woman, Kit, setting up some equipment on the beach on Selkie Island before scuba diving. Once underwater, she spots something swimming very quickly. By the time she realizes how much danger she’s in, it’s too late and whatever it was kills her.

We then meet 17-year old Miranda Merchant, who is traveling to Selkie Island by ferry. She meets TJ on the ferry after he guesses it’s her first time there. Technically that’s not true, as she was born there, but hasn’t been there in well over a decade. When she mentions this, TJ figures out she’s Amelia’s daughter and this puts Miranda on edge. Her father recently passed away and she’s going to live with her mother as a result, but she hasn’t seen her mother since she left the island.

When they arrive on the island, Miranda and TJ meet Ginny, TJ’s girlfriend. TJ offers to meet Amelia with Miranda, just to help mitigate any awkwardness, but she says no, so instead he heads to the marina. While TJ and Ginny are at the marina, one of the parents shows up, in part to confiscate the drugs, but with him is Ginny’s legal guardian, Teddy, and TJ’s dad. He’s there, because Ginny’s cousin, Kit, hasn’t been seen in a day. She told the harbor master she was going to go diving, so her being missing for a day is a reason to worry, not that Ginny is worried. In fact, TJ is more concerned.

Meanwhile, it is an awkward mother / daughter reunion. Not only have Miranda and Amelia not seen each other in so long, the reason for their reunion is tragic. Furthermore, Miranda isn’t really cut out for life on a small island; she can’t even swim. When Amelia asks why her father didn’t teach her to swim, Miranda says he couldn’t swim either, but Amelia says that’s not true. He was a lifeguard in college. This confuses Miranda enough that she goes for a run to clear her mind. While at the beach, she hears voices that entice her into the sea. Leo, a local, snaps her out of it when he tells her there’s no swimming, but there is something odd about this place.

Miranda continues to meet new people, including CeeCee, who is really friendly and tells her about the place, including the rivalry between Townies, the locals, and Heirs, the rich kids who summer on the island. We see this rivalry first hand when one of the Heirs, Bobby, tries to pick a fight with Leo. Miranda is able to calm things down, but just after, a boat arrives with Kit’s body. The murder mystery adds another level to the Townies vs. Heirs conflict.

Of course, with a mystery comes spoilers, so that’s where we will end the plot summary.

I am not in the target audience for Sea Change; however, I’ve seen enough similar shows to know when one is working or not. There are parts of Sea Change that work. Emily Rudd can clearly carry a show like this and I’m looking forward to seeing her in other projects. (She’s was cast in the lead in Olive Forever, which was about a high school cat burglar, but that wasn’t picked up either.) Emily Rudd had chemistry with both of the male leads, even though I thought it was a little too soap opera for my tastes. The mystery angle added enough to draw me into the plot, up until the end. Because this is a TV pilot and not a full movie, it ends in a really unsatisfying way. It was meant to set up a full season of stories, so it couldn’t end in a way that gave any closure and that’s the biggest flaw in the movie.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

Fans of the Supernatural Romance subgenre of Young Adult novels will likely find something to enjoy here, but you have to go in knowing that Sea Change is a TV pilot and the ending was meant to set up a show that never happened. The DVD has no extras, so Video on Demand is the better deal.

Filed under: Video Review, Sea Change, Maria Dizzia, Sarah Power, Siobhan Williams, Taylor Russell, Keenan Tracey, Emily Rudd, Skyler Maxon, Colin Ferguson, Justin Kelly