ManFish (2022) Movie Review – Throw this one back into the ocean

Throw this one back into the ocean

Currently streaming on Shudder is ManFish, a movie about a middle-aged man named Terry (DeanKilbey) who falls in love with a sea creature.

Terry spends his days collecting shells, which he uses to create jewellery boxes that nobody wants to buy. Despite his failed business plans, his hobby does give him some semblance of happiness, unlike his girlfriend Tracy (Emma Stannard) and his older brother Nigel (Liam Noble), who make his life a constant misery. 

Terry thinks about ending his life and he even writes a suicide note to Tracy to inform her of his intentions. But when he stumbles across the titular fish man washed up on the beach, his life begins to change for the better. He takes this strange creature home and after a little while, the two of them strike up a bond. Later, their unlikely friendship becomes something more romantic when they develop sexual feelings for one another. We even get a scene of them in the bath locking lips before it (mercifully) fades to black as Terry starts to get undressed! 

Unfortunately, their interspecies relationship isn’t destined to last. Tracy and Nigel want to make money from Terry’s aquatic lover and to do that, they intend to sell it to whoever will give them the most money. Needless to say, Terry isn’t happy about their plans.

We won’t reveal any more of the plotting here for fear of giving away spoilers. But if you would like to know more you can check out our Ending Explained article which is linked at the bottom of this review. 

This British comedy horror film from director Marc Coleman has a rather bizarre premise that has the potential to offer a few fish-out-of-water laughs as well as a dose of human drama.

The core concept brings to mind Brian and Charles, another movie from last year that centred on a rather unusual friendship. That movie is a sweet-natured and often very funny comedy about a lost soul named Brian and his tinpot creation Charles (a robot with a washing machine body and a mannequin head), and the ways in which they become dependent on one another for companionship.

Unfortunately, ManFish just isn’t in the same league as that joyful gem as its crude humour undermines the sentimental aspects of its unconventional story. 

The best thing about the movie is the look of the titular character. The creature is basically a guy in a rubber suit with a face mask that resembles the head of a Silurian from Doctor Who. But despite the lo-fi special effects, the fish man still looks reasonably convincing. You might even feel some sympathy for it when it falls prey to Nigel and Tracy’s cruel schemes. 

But that’s it for the positives as the occasional flat acting, the crude dialogue, and the disjointed story ruin the chances of this being a fun and charming comedy. 

It’s a shame that this one disappoints as much as it does. Admittedly, with a title like ManFish, you should hardly expect high art! But it could have weaved some interesting points about love and bigotry within its story of a man and his sexual relationship with a fish creature. And it could have aimed for a few laughs too, with scenes of the fish man trying to adapt to life on dry land.

But instead, we are cursed with a script that favours vulgarities over genuine heart and chuckles, and direction that is mostly unimaginative. 

Of course, if you’re somebody who laughs at jokey references to oral sex and the sight of a decapitated penis, you might find something here to entertain you. You might even appreciate the movie’s setting if you’re a resident of Canvey Island. But if you’re looking for a few B-movie thrills and chills, or a film that will touch your heart as well as your funny bone, then you’re going to be left wanting. 

There are better movies to watch on Shudder, so you don’t need to waste your time with this one. It’s not completely awful – the central love story is kinda sweet – but it’s mostly sucked dry by the witless script that lacks the invention this movie sorely needed.

As such, this isn’t one I can recommend. This could have been an interesting cross between Splash and The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Instead, it’s like a dismal episode of the British soap opera Eastenders with a sea creature thrown into the mix to distract from the domestic squabbles.


Read More: ManFish Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 4.5/10

4 thoughts on “ManFish (2022) Movie Review – Throw this one back into the ocean”

  1. Thanks for your comment PC. Much appreciated. If you do see the film, please let us know what you think. I didn’t like it but am always happy to hear other people’s opinions.

  2. Lee, Your review was interesting (though a wee critical) enough for me to mark the film as one to watch :). And I appreciate your tolerance for disagreement. Big of you. Keep going.

  3. Hey Simon, thanks for your feedback. We clearly have different viewpoints on the film, which is fine, of course. I didn’t think it was as funny as it could have been but I recognise some people enjoyed the film more than I did. If you have the time to share some of your thoughts on the film, I would be interested to read them.

    thanks again for getting in touch’

    Lee 🙂

  4. Its always great to hear different reviews of this film . I can see from your review that you simply did not get it!! Nothing to do with the acting . Writing direction or according to you the lack of comedy…
    You are in a minority. . Sad really that you are humourless..I wish you well

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