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John’s Horror Corner: Killer Mermaid (2014), a promising micro-budget movie about a man-eating sea nymph.

December 12, 2014

             Nymph-poster  MY CALL: Although suffering from a slow pace and over-exposition, this was a promising little micro-budget movie by a filmmaker early in his career. After seeing this man-eating water nymph story, I look forward to what he can do when paired with better writers and a meatier budget. MOVIES LIKE Killer Mermaid: Other fun and, to be honest, better made mythological/folklore-based movies in contemporary settings include Thale (2012), Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) and Trollhunter (2010). ALTERNATE TITLES: This movie was also released as Mamula and Nymph.

Opening, in all straight-faced seriousness, with a soulful Moby Dick quote only to transition into a cute couple’s vacation montage scored by promiscuously-themed club music and by the fourth minute baring breasts upon us…this movie is clearly all about balancing mood. Maybe more about balancing one ominous introductory quote with lots of bikinis, butt-angled camera shots and mermaid breasts to come.

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Kelly (Kristina Klebe; Breadcrumbs, Chillerama, Halloween) and Lucy (Natalie Burn; In the Name of the King 2, The Expendables 3) go on a Mediterranean adventure vacation to a small, uninhabited island with Lucy’s Serbian ex-boyfriend Alex, who is bringing his fiancée…awkwaaaaaard. Needless to say, some lovelines get crossed. Also needless to say, this is hardly pertinent to the story.

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Our young attractive group of vacationers encounter a super creepy old man (Franco Nero; The Woods, Django Unchained) who tries to warn them away from the island they wish to visit (Mamula) and of the man-eating nymph Scylla, who evidently “ate” this old man’s entire diving crew. I wonder why they didn’t buy into his totally credible story about an aquatic chick eating six grown men. So they go despite these warnings.

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The island looked so beautiful in the daylight.

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After he opening scenes and meeting the characters, things move at a sluggish pace and the acting is nothing to brag about. The good thing about that is that we more than sufficiently get to know the characters and maybe even care about some of them. The bad part is that we came to see a movie called “killer mermaid” and an hour into the movie we still haven’t seen this flesh-gnawing fish girl!

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Nothing like The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel, our “monster” in this movie is a mix of Greek mythology’s singing siren and an anthropophagous mermaid. But to compliment this we also get a psychopathic fisherman pick-axing people with a grappling hook. When we eventually see the mermaid with her latex suit and CGI-tail it is, in fact, satisfying. I just wish we got to see a lot more of her throughout the movie. And no, I’m not talking about mermaid boobs…but they’re there as well.

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She’s kind of cute.

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The gore in this fantasy-horror is hardly present, minimal and infrequent. A bucket of chum made of severed hands, an impaled neck (but we don’t see it happen), some corpse butchering (but we don’t see it happen), and a single satisfying axe to the back make up everything leading up to the equally ungory finale. No good mermaid-related kills though. And that just ain’t right!

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Oh, right…she transforms from pretty to “less” pretty.

MAMULA (aka NYMPH, 2014) (14)

Directed by Milan Todorovic, who is credited as the creator of the “first Serbian zombie movie” (Zone of the Dead) and now the “first” Serbian sea creature movie. I’m not so sure that these “firsts” should be considered noteworthy, but this movie wasn’t awful. It was really only “bad” in “good” ways and it certainly showed us what Todorovic can envision and do with a tiny budget. The storytelling suffers from over-exposition, especially in the very end, but this is fixable with experience and is nothing I’d advise skipping the movie over.

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“I told you kids to stay away from that island!”

Give this flick a chance.

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