We’re Stranded on a Ship in the Middle of the Ocean with a Killer!: High Seas (2019)

We’re stranded on a ship in the middle of the ocean with a killer!

So I saw the trailer for this on Netflix and instantly added it to my to-watch list.

It looked so good!

One day my friend and I were hanging out trying to find something to watch when I suggested this. We started watching it and could NOT stop! And that ending, WOW!

Fridays are when I review TV episodes, but as this show can’t be broken episode by epiode, I’m reviewing the whole first season. I did the same thing last year with American Gothic. So the show is actually filmed in Spanish, its real name being Alta Mar, but you can listen to it with the English (or other language) voiceover. I have to say they did really good with this, there are only a few times that it didn’t sync up.

So the TV series takes place in Spain after WWII.  The cruise ship is departing from Spain to Brazil. Carolina (Alejandra Onieva) and Eva Villanueve (Ivana Baquero) are headed on an Ocean Cruise liner as Carolina is getting married. Their father passed away two years ago and after his death she discovered that their shoe factory trucks were used to aid the Nazis during WWII. With that news, coupled with her father’s death-Carolina decided to sell the business. Instead, after their marriage she will join her fiancé, Fernando Fábregas (Eloy Azorín), cruise business.

Eva is a writer and is happy for her sister, but sad that the family business ended, and she will be separated from her sister-as she will be in Brazil and her sister will be traveling. She doesn’t like Fernando as something doesn’t feel right about him, but when she investigated a rumor that he was a gambler, she turned up nothing.

As they are driving with their maids Francesca and Veronica de García when they hit a woman in the street.

They rush out to help her and she tells them she is being chased by her fiancé. She doesn’t wish to marry him, but he wants her and has decided he must have her or no one can. She is intent on getting away, and getting on the ship.

Carolina, Francesca, and Veronica want to give her over to the police-but Eva wants to help her and convinces them all to smuggle the girl, Louisa, on the ship in their travel trunk.

Hmm, I don’t know about this…

When they get on board the ship they meet the Captain and the first officer, Nicolás Vázquez (Jon Kortajarena). Nicolás is very interested in Eva, but she shrugs him off trying to get the trunk to her room. When questioned why the rest of their luggage remains below, Eva deftly comments on how Carolina is the owner’s bride.

They get to the room where they free Louisa, and she and the maids go to their rooms down below. Francesca loves the Ladies, having been like a mother to them-but Veronica does not. Having grown up playing with the girls and is now serving them-she is very unhappy at her lot an does not want to be a servant, she wants to be more.

I have to work

Veronica helps the ladies dress for dinner and remains in the room, seeing a man try to break in. He claims to have mistaken it as his room, but Veronica is unsure. She leaves, but does not go down to steerage.

Or on this cruise ship.

Meanwhile, Louisa and Francesca are in the room, and Louisa grabs a vase and knocks Francesca out. She then escapes to the Carolina and Eva’s room and starts going through their things. The man comes back from before and he and Louisa fight.

Dinner is a wonderful affair, and of course the two ladies are honored guests and sit at the Captain’s table. Carolina gets up and dances with her fiancé Fernando, the two then separating as Carolina wants to change her shoes. Earlier, Fernando had a mysterious message telling him to meet at a certain point at 12, but he lies to Carolina that he is receiving a cable. Suspicious.

Eva goes out for some air and is followed by Nicolaus, who is really interested in her. He flirts and things are leaning his way when they hear a woman scream from above and a body hit the water.

Eva is worried about her sister and goes searching for her, finding the room a mess. She continues to search and finds her in steerage aiding Francesca.

The girl’s search their room but can’t tell what is missing. While they are doing that, the crew searches for the body and only find a dress-the one Louisa was wearing.

That is not good,

Eva and Caroline come clean about what happened and everyone wants to hush it up. Fernando has a lot riding on his ship and can’t have it be known as the Murder Cruise or else all is lost.

They say it was an accident, and everyone but Eva and Nicolaus believe that to be true. The two begin investigating.

This will be a dangerous voyage as Eva has no clue who to trust and wants to do everything she can to protect her family and find justice.

Nazis, arson, shady deals, dark secrets, three deaths, a murder masked as suicide, and more combine in this show as we have a wonderful cast of characters.

WATCH IT NOW!!

Nicolas is the dashing first officer and the one who was with Eva when they heard the body fall. He is kind, caring, funny, handsome, and intent on finding justice as well. He used to be a street thief until Captain Santiago Aguirre found him and enlisted him on the ship. He seems to be the perfect one to trust-the Tommy to her Tuppence, but Eva discovers that he has a secret-can she really trust anything he says?

The fiancé-Fernando. He I really do not like as he didn’t meet Carolina when she arrived, when she comes to see him pretty much ignores her for work, and just seems altogether shady. The way he wraps the case up pinning it on an innocent steerage passenger, pretends to be robbed-throwing his rings over the boat and lies about the telegram-having received none. Is there something darker going on with him? Or is he the murderer?

Fernando’s sister and her husband are also on the cruise and they are very strange. Natalia is always drunk, unfocused, and a shadow of a person while her husband just exudes bad feelings. His is also unfaithful as he immediately sets his sights on the lounge singer, Clara. He promises to help her, then rapes her-making her promise not to say anything or he will rip her to shreds. No wonder his wife is the way she is-married to that guy. Clara is not the first and could he have been after Louisa too? Or was he involved in the shady business dealings with the Nazis and want to keep that from being found out. He is extremely eager to get to Brazil.

I HATE this character!

Eva and Carolina’s uncle, Pedro Villanueva has been watching over them and being there ever since their fathr’s death. He, their father, and Doctor Rojas used to be business partners. Was their father killed in an accident…or murdered? Murdered by their uncle or longtime family friend? They are both nervous and trying to search the girls things for some microfiche. What’s on that film?

Hmmm

Veronica wants more in life than being a maid and Sebastián de la Cuesta, rich and famous playboy, pays a lot of attention to her…but is he honest in his feelings? Is he just playing with her heart-using and losing, or does he really feel for her? It turns out Sebastian is bankrupt and trying to hide it from all. Could that be all he’s hiding. Could he be involved in something nefarious? Something he wants to keep hidden?

Hmmm…

Dimas Gómez is the sweetest guy, working as valet to Sebastian and also interested in Veronica. He has an idea to turn cane sugar into ethanol. He presents his idea to Sebastian (who may or may not steal it) and pretends to be Veronica’s sweetheart so her mother doesn’t discover she is sleeping with Sebastian. He seems like a great guy, but he was the roommate of the man who confessed to killing Louisa. Is he more involved in this than he lets on?

Hmm…

Plus to top it off we have a Captain who lost his wife and is very suicidal, a skulky crewm ember with a mysterious burned face, and a ship detective who doesn’t care about solving the crime.

And that’s not all, this show will have so many other twists and turns, once you start watching you will not want to stop!

So this movie reminded me a lot of Dangerous Crossings with the cruise ships, wedding, suspicious guy skulking about, being unsure who to trust. And just like that movie I really, really liked it. It was extremely compelling and the characters are amazing.

I couldn’t help but compare this to American Gothic which I reviewed last year. American Gothic had a great idea, but fell apart in the middle as it would lead is in one direction, then have an episode that turned it back on itself saying that it was false and this was the answer…oh wait, no that’s false-this is the answer, making it not enjoyable and obvious you couldn’t trust the show.

With this, it was done like Twin Peaks or Veronica Mars with each episode adding to the solving of the mystery. There were twists and turns along the way, and was amazing to watch!

YOU MEAN, THIS ONE

And the other reason to watch this? The CLOTHES!! THE CLOTHES are GORGEOUS!!! I want everything Eva and Carolina wear. Even the  guys’ clothing are beautiful.

I want to buy all the clothes!!!!

This film is also a Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans

Yes, I think that this is a perfect film for Austen fans.

At the center of the mystery is the love sisters have for each other. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are both stories that focus on sisterly bonds and friendship. Even though these two sisters have been doing other things, they have reunited and care strongly for each other. Their first thoughts are whether they are okay-and doing all they can to make sure that their sister is taken care of and safe-sometimes hiding things to keep them from being put in danger. In P&P and S&S the sisters were each other’s best friends and always there for each other, just like in this film.

In this show Carolina is poisoned and Eva stands vigil doing all she can to help and aid her sister-Just like Elizabeth caring for Jane or Elinor caring for Marianne.

Carolina reminds me of Jane-beautiful, kind, caring, always thinking the best of people even though they clearly do not deserve it. She is the older sister, but often falls way to the younger sister’s persuasion.

Eva made me think of Catherine Morland: a reader, strong imagination, an investigative spirit. Like how Catherine searches out the Abbey for clues to the murder she believes to have happened there-Eva does the same on the ship. Except in Eva’s case there actually is a murder! Eva doesn’t automatically make me think of Elizabeth but she is just as stubborn and not interested in the main love interest…at least at first.

Nicolas and Eva’s interactions again make me think of Catherine and Mr. Tilney. Like Mr. Tilney-Nicolas is fun, witty, kind, and makes his interest known. Their interactions are fantastic banter.

VIctoria, Sebastian, and Deemis’ love triangle make me think of Isabella Thorpe, Captain Tilney, and James Morland. In Northanger Abbey, Isabella comes from not a super wealthy family and is on the prowl for a wealthy man. She catches James Morland, Catherine’s brother, believing the Morland’s are wealthier than they are but exchanges him for a larger quarry-Captain Tilney. Captain Tilney is not interested in settling down and after sleeping with Isabella, is done with her. Now Victoria, like Isabella, does not want a second class passenger, she wants first class. She has the love of a good man, Deemis, but she won’t even bother with him as she wants someone with and from more. But Sebastian is a famous playboy, and we see after sleeping with her he uses the same lines on another lady.

And the final reason why this made me think of Austen’s works and why you should watch this?

Yes, the very handsome officers. Mrs. Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Louisa Musgrove, Henrietta Musgrove, and Anne Elliot would all approve.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 3-5

For more mystery cruises, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Will We Survive the Night?: Rawhide (1951)

So a while back during my 30 Day Challenge one year, I talked about something I had accomplished-my intense thesis paper. The professor had noticed my love of film, and recommended that I choose that for my project and I did. I choose to talk about the Civil Rights era and Western film.

SayWhat?BuffyVampireSlayernosense

I know, it sounds weird, but it there were actually a lot of Western films that correlated with the changes occurring due to the Civil Rights Movement. It was different, it was ambitious, it would be a perfect change from anything anyone else had done. And it was-all those things but after a lot of serious work and time, and sleepless nights-I did it and it was good. And I won an award.

Afterwards, for another class I decided to stick with the idea-but this time with women in Post WWII Westerns. WWII allowed women more freedoms, as they had to take on previously masculine roles and duties. Westerns became the perfect avenue for this as historically women played a major part in “settling the West,” for example, thousands of women journeyed West under the Homestead Act. I discussed five influential western films that presented strong cowgirl characters and broke away from previous molds: Ramrod (1947), Red River (1948), Montana (1950), Rawhide (1951), and Calamity Jane (1953).

They were all fantastic films, but only two could work for Horrorfest VII: film-noir Ramrod and suspense-thriller Rawhide.

I was having a hard time trying to decide which one to review as I thought two Westerns during Horrorfest VII was a little much. I finally decided on Rawhide as thus far, I have only reviewed one 1950s film while four 1940s film.

Hmm…

Well enough background-let’s move forward. So this film is a remake of a 1930s film Show Them No Mercy. This black and white film stars Tyrone Power as Tom Owens, the son of a stagecoach tycoon, having been not living up to his father’s expectations he sent Tom out West at a stopover station, Rawhide Pass.

A coach comes through with a group of passengers, one being Vinnie Holt (Susan Hayward) and her niece Callie. Vinnie is a singer turned cowgirl, who is taking her niece to be raised by her maternal grandparents as her sister and brother-in-law died in a brawl.

They are going to head out but the calvary arrives with the news that there are escaped convicts after a gold shipment. They are there to escort the stagecoach, but they cannot take Callie as children are not allowed in such dangerous situations. Vinnie stays behind with her niece and upsets Tom’s life.

“Tom Owens: What are you doing?

Vinnie Holt: I’m taking this room.

Tom Owens: I’m sorry, this is mine.

Vinnie Holt: [Authoritatively] Not tonight, it’s not!”

That night Vinnie wants a bath for her and Callie. He’s angry and points out the trough, but Vinnie is harsh and won’t be cowed-getting him to admit where the hot springs are in the area. She doesn’t trust anyone-she’s a woman living in the West, and takes Tom’s gun with her just in case.

Meanwhile, a man comes over on a horse. Tom waits behind, while the other Rawhide worker Sam Todd (Edgar Buchanan) goes to check it out. The man shows a Sheriff badge, but it turns out he is the convict, Rafe Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe) who was supposed to hang for the murder of his girlfriend and lover. He and his crew of three, all being guys from cells around him, take over the place. They kill Todd, and imprison Tom in his room.

Vinnie and Callie come back, and Vinnie quickly grapples the situation. She tries to hide, but is discovered when Callie cries out, but does manage to hide Tom’s gun before they imprison her too.

They think Vinnie and Callie are Tom’s wife and daughter. They keep them alive to use as collateral in order to ensure that Tom does what they ask. This soon turns into a game of cat and mouse as Tom and Vinnie try to figure a way out of the situation without revealing their plans to the outlaws.

Another coach comes by and Zimmerman pretends to be a sheriff assisting Tom with those convicts on the loose. Tom tries to find a way to slip a note, steal their gun, or get the one hidden under the trough. He and Vinnie also try digging out a hole in the wall of their room in hopes that they can all escape these madmen. But will they be able to make it through the night?

This is a great film you should see for yourself. Susan Hayward is a powerful character.  While Hayward’s role of Vinnie is similar to the 1930s Western films as she provides a love interest, and creates a way in which to distinguish which of the outlaws is the true villain; however, she doesn’t allow her gender or temporary motherly duties keep her from her true character; a strong, brave, cowgirl–equal to any man. Throughout the film, Vinnie is also shown to be equal to her male counterpart. Not only does she instruct and command Tom, but will not tolerate anyone trying to take advantage of her as she knows how to survive the West and does not allow anyone to push her around because of her sex.

The film also reverses the damsel in distress cliché that one would expect in a love triangle-themed film. Throughout the movie, Vinnie is constantly harassed and attacked by the convicts, but never saved by anyone. Instead, Vinnie uses her strength, cunning, and resoluteness she needed to survive living in the West to disarm and dress down her opponents, even going as far as physically harming one in order to stop him.

Digging a way out

***Spoiler Alert***

And the end of the film is great. Instead of Vinnie being the damsel in distress in need of a savior, she saves Tom. One of the convicts, Tevis, had disarmed Tom and forced him to lay down on the ground, but before Tevis has a chance to shoot him, Vinnie steps in.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Susan Hayward, go to The Misery That Walks Around On This Pretty, Quiet Night: Deadline at Dawn (1946)

For more Westerns, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks