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Case Number 27685: Small Claims Court

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Killer Mermaid

Epic Pictures // 2014 // 96 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mac McEntire // August 28th, 2014

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Mac McEntire doesn't think Attina, Alana, Adella, Aquata, Arista, or Andrina would approve.

The Charge

Mysterious. Irresistible. Deadly.

The Case

Originally titled Nymph—or "Mamula" if you're going native—Killer Mermaid was produced in Serbia and filmed on location in Montenegro. It's an old-fashioned creature feature made in hopes of reaching an international audience. It's got bikini girls, a tropical location, lots of chases and running around, bloody gore, and a monster that makes for a catchy title.

Best friends Kelly (Kristina Klebe, Zone of the Dead) and Lucy (Natalie Burn, The Expendables 3) are on vacation in Montenegro. They reunite with Alex (Slobodan Stefanovic, Wrath of the Dead) and his bride-to-be, Yasmin (Sofija Rajovic, Tesla). Lucy and Alex were once a couple, and are tempted to get back together behind Yasmin's back. Kelly, meanwhile, refuses to go swimming because of a traumatic event in her life years earlier. The foursome head out to a deserted military base for some sightseeing. The movie's called Killer Mermaid, so guess what they run into.

Let's start with what's good, shall we? This movie looks gorgeous. This is no zero-budget Syfy crap. The filming locations in tourist-friendly Montenegro fill the screen with lush greens and blues. The actors run around in actual ruins, which have a real, gritty, and even beautiful in a way that a set or green-screen effect can't be. Similarly, CGI is kept to a minimum, with plenty of practical gore and makeup effects. And, yes, beautiful people cavorting in swimwear are appreciated by a good portion of the audience.

Unfortunately, not everything about Killer Mermaid is killer. We've got another case of "dumb things people only in horror movies do." Once our heroes realize they're stuck on an island with someone trying to kill them, they don't try to get out of there right away. Instead, they stick around to take photographs in the hopes of providing evidence to the police. As they do this, everyone watching at home yells at the screen, "Just run, you idiots!" Also, the first half of the film devotes a lot of time to the characters' interpersonal dramas, which will test the patience of those monster fans hoping to see a killer mermaid. If all the soap opera stuff were to be revisited at the end of the film somehow, or if it informed the characters' decisions during the monster action, then it would be warranted, but instead it comes off as filler.

Also, accents. The actors speak English with thick eastern European accents. I know how ethnocentric this makes me look, but the accents were hugely distracting. If this were an Italian movie, they'd be dubbed, and if this were a Syfy filmed-in-Australia movie, they'd be doing weird-sounding American accents. If they were speaking their native tongue with subtitles, the hard truth is that this probably wouldn't get much of a wide release. I don't know what the solution would be, but as it is now, the accents make the actors come off as wooden and odd.

Italian exploitation film legend Franco Nero (Camelot) has an extended cameo as the stock "harbinger" character that appears in so many monster movies. He's good, apparently channeling his inner Bela Lugosi as he offers dire warnings to the sexy young tourists. When he shows up later in the film, though, all momentum grinds to a halt as he delivers an exposition-heavy monologue, spelling out the entire background and history of the titular mermaid, filling in the audience on all kinds of details they don't need to know. Like all the relationship woes in the first half of the story, this speech comes off as filler.

The Dolby 5.1 audio and standard def 1.78:1 widescreen transfer are stellar, with rich colors, vivid details, natural flesh tones, and deep blacks. The disc comes with three short PR-friendly featurettes.

Killer Mermaid is a nice-looking but ultimately forgettable monster movie romp. See it only if killer mermaids are your jam.

The Verdict

Not guilty…barely

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 65

Perp Profile

Studio: Epic Pictures
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
• Fantasy
• Foreign
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes


• IMDb

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