Killer Mermaid (2014)

DVD Cover (Epic Pictures)
Genres / Traits: Creature Film, Horror, Mermaids
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Milan Todorovic Milan Todorovic
Kristina Klebe Kristina Klebe
Franco Nero Franco Nero
Natalie Burn Natalie Burn
Dragan Micanovic Dragan Micanovic
Miodrag 'Miki' Krstovic Miodrag 'Miki' Krstovic

4.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: November 21, 2016
It's interesting to think that mermaids, those creatures of folklore that are as widely known as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, have had such a small representation in the world of movies. I mean, sure, we had Disney's The Little Mermaid and Splash, but those aren't exactly true to the mermaid mythology. Traditionally, mermaids were creatures that had the upper body of a beautiful woman and the lower body of a fish, and they used their siren songs to enchant sailors before dragging them down into the ocean to drown. That's not exactly Disney or romantic comedy material, and that is where the Serbian film Killer Mermaids comes into play. This is a fairly accurate representation of the mythology of this creature, and it's actually pretty good.

The storyline follows two American ladies - Kelly (Kristina Klebe) and Lucy (Natalie Burn) - who go on a Mediterranean vacation to meet up with an old college friend while also enjoying some fun in the sun. They soon meet up with him, a fellow by the name of Alex (Slobodan Stefanovic), and they also meet his fiancee Yasmin (Sofija Rajovic)... which is a little awkward, since Lucy had intended on hooking up with Alex. Throw in one of Yasmin's former flames in Boban (Dragan Micanovic), and we have quite the interesting circle of underlying drama while everyone is pretending to have fun and leave their cares behind.

That's about the time that they decide to visit the island of Mamula, an island which is almost entirely covered by an enormous fort which was once used as a concentration camp by the Nazis. This isn't entirely a movie script, by the way: this is a real island, and that history is very real. Anyway, our five heroes set out to visit this island and take in the scenery, and there, they discover that mermaids are not a thing of fiction. In fact, one inhabits this very island, and she uses her siren song to lure unsuspecting male prey to their doom. Women are immune to this song, but the mermaid has no problem with killing them if they get in her way. Yes, this creature is very beautiful, and yes, she is also very deadly... and she's also a big fan of eating human flesh. Meanwhile, a creepy old man (Franco Nero) is hanging around, and he may know more than what he's letting on.

So, here's something that may shock you: if you were to pop this movie in without knowing the title, without seeing the DVD cover, and having skipped the opening credits, the fact that there is a mermaid in it at all would have been a big twist. You see, the original title was Mamula, before being renamed to Nymph, before they finally settled on Killer Mermaid for maximum sales. The original plan was to have this mermaid angle be a twist, and to have the audience guessing if it was a serial killer or some other type of creature on the loose. We never see the titular creature in its full form until near the end of the running time, and what little we do see of her before then is made out to be a helpless victim who is only seen in brief glimpses. So, yes, that title and DVD cover art are one huge spoiler, which is a shame because this would actually have been a neat surprise to discover on your own.

With that said, most of the running time becomes a waiting game, where we sit there and just wait for the damned mermaid to finally show up. We know that those creepy old men are not directly responsible for the mayhem; it's not called Killer Old Men, it's Killer Fucking Mermaid... so there we sit, waiting for that fucking mermaid to finally show up. Again, this is a shame, because without that foresight, there's actually a good storyline here that is slowly and methodically built up. Is that old man killing people? Is the woman in the well a prisoner? What's up with the woman who is locked inside a prison cell? These would have been interesting plot points, if we weren't instead sitting there waiting for a damned mermaid to pop up.

If it wasn't obvious, this did hurt my enjoyment of what could have been a great film. It's still pretty good, don't get me wrong. Even knowing that a mermaid is eventually going to show up, and even knowing that those red herrings are not what they appear to be, I did enjoy my time in front of the tube. This is not the cheesy T&A fest that I expected given the premise and the abundance of bikini babes in the promotional materials - it's actually a pretty solid horror / thriller, which just so happens to feature a rarely-used creature as the antagonist. The story does slow down from time to time, but even this isn't as much of a problem as it could have been: the scenery here is gorgeous, and that island fortress is pretty damned atmospheric. There are also some great gore effects on display, and aside from a few brief flashes of shoddy CGI work, the mermaid itself looks amazing. It appears in two forms, with one being the traditional "half woman, half fish", and the other being... well, I'll leave that for you to discover, but it looks great.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but not as much as I could have. I think that I'm going to go with a 6/10 for this one, but if you could somehow see it without knowing the title and without knowing what was coming, you may enjoy it a little more. The twist would more than likely add to the overall experience, but unfortunately, it's all but impossible to go in to this one blind thanks to the title itself.
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