Movie Review – Killer Mermaid (2014)

Killer Mermaid (2014), also known as Nymph and Mamula, is the first ever Serbian creature feature. The director, Milan Todorovic, also directed the first Serbian zombie film, Zone of the Dead (2009). A horror concept like a killer mermaid was once laughable, until of course we saw something like it in Cabin in the Woods (2012). Nevertheless, when you go into a creature feature like this, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, and those expectations are never high.

Honestly, that may be to best way to approach this film, as it’s more well-done than one would at first suppose. The film begins like a B-movie exploitation flick, with a naked girl and a typical slasher-style killing, but this appears more like a ploy to get the audience’s attention as it tries to skirt away from a reliance on those tropes for the rest of the film. The first half of the movie is actually devoted to character development and flushing out their connections, which succeeds only partially. The mermaid doesn’t even enter in until the second half of the film, and her scenes are actually very impressive. The cinematography, too, is very appealing. It is shot on location at the island of Mamula, which is uninhabited and houses a nineteenth-century fort which, during WWII, was converted into a concentration camp by Italian fascists and became infamous for the tortures which occurred there.

This is all not to say that this is a great film. The acting is shaky and we spend a lot of time with characters just running around an island trying to hide from a crazed killer, sometimes making stereotypically poor decisions. Also, for some reason the movie focuses on two American girls, though one clearly has an accent (Ukrainian) which is never explained.

But really, the film tries harder than I would have given it credit for, and I was never bored while watching it. Instead, I wanted to see more of the mermaid, which is effectively only teased at for the majority of the film. She is actually creepy, which given the premise one can imagine is no small feat.

Killer Mermaid is an entertaining ride that just might surprise some genre fans in the mood for something light and fun. It’s a B-movie that doesn’t try to be an A-film, but that doesn’t condescend to its audience either.

Grade: C