Over the last few weeks, we've been watching some pretty wicked horror flicks about mythical creatures, so I figured we'd keep that momentum going with a creature from below: the mermaid. In this week's Horror Club, we're taking a look at the recently released Russian-translated horror film The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead - a film that tells the dark, twisted tale of terror that lives below the Earth's surface. In Slavic mythology, it was believed that an unmarried woman who drowns becomes a mermaid, but not the sweet, beautiful creatures of childhood movies. These mermaids were evil and full of rage, haunting the depths of the rivers and lakes. The Mermaid takes that mythology and creates an entertaining and terrifying tale that makes for a pretty decent film.
The Mermaid follows the story of couple Marina (Viktoriya Agalakova) and Roma (Efim Petrunin) as their wedding date draws near. Roma's buddies take him up to his family's lake-side house to celebrate his final days as a bachelor. Once he gets up there, Roma leaves the bachelor party and heads down to the lake for a moon-lit swim, but it is here that he meets the face of the woman who will terrorize him until his end of days: The Mermaid. He is immediately uncontrollably drawn to her, and they share a kiss. The Mermaid falls in love with Roma and pretty much tries to keep them apart. As The Mermaid haunts and tortures both Roma and Marina, and it is up to Marina to battle the creature to win back her soon-to-be husband from the grip of the Mermaid. Does Marina have what it takes to battle it out with a creature of the depths to keep the heart of her man?
Going into The Mermaid knowing the Russian mythology of mermaids isn't essential to understand or enjoy the movie - however, armed with this information, I feel like you'll enjoy The Mermaid just a little bit more if you did know the background story to this mythical creature, simply because it does play a small role in the backstory of our villain. That being said, there's definitely some good parts and some not-so-good parts to this film, but as a whole, The Mermaid certainly isn't a bad film by any means, it feels like it lacks anything to really make it stand out from other creature feature. The Mermaid (Sofia Shidlovskaya) herself gets plenty of on-screen time, and she's got some appearances that are freaky as fuck - they definitely didn't hold back on making sure that she was as terrifying as they made her out to be. The face of the Mermaid goes from beautiful young woman to evil-as-hell soul-eater in a matter of seconds, and believe it or not it's actually pretty decent. As far as the other main characters go, there's zero emotional attachment to any of them and honestly you probably won't be at much of a loss if any of them were to be killed by the Mermaid (not confirming or denying any deaths to avoid spoiling). The acting can be a bit cheesy and wonky at times, but it could be the strange English-dubs that assist in making the acting seem so messy at times (you'll find in the dubs that there's no almost emotion in the voices).
However, don't let these remarks lead you to believe this film sucks, because it definitely doesn't suck - it just fails to do anything we haven't seen, or do anything to warrant a re-watch. The story is very engaging and creative, and I found it especially entertaining since it wasn't your typical Disney princess style mermaid - in fact, this mermaid didn't even have the tail and come to think of it you don't even see her swim all that much in the film. She's more so an evil witch who has an underground kingdom of dead beneath the water - that's pretty fucking metal if you ask me. So The Mermaid definitely gets extra points for that, and the story line is the movies biggest selling point for my recommendation, simply because the few jump scares aren't really scary, the characters are kinda lacking and the Mermaid doesn't really do anything crazy cool, which I was hoping she could. Don't get me wrong, like I said there's some pretty sick CGI scenes with her in it, but it ends there for the most part. But the plot to The Mermaid is without a doubt the best part of the movie, and there's even a cool little twist thrown into the film that earns it some extra points simply because it was pretty unexpected. Add in some pretty eerie elements to the film - like the flooded out basement of the house - and it makes for a pretty suspenseful tone.
If you're into the creature feature genre of horror and you're looking for something a little different, I'd say give The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead a go if you've got nothing else on your watch list. Its a fun, evil little flick with a creature we don't really see enough of in horror, so it's definitely got that going for it. If mythological monsters aren't your thing - avoid this one, you probably won't appreciate the movie. The Mermaid cost me $3 to rent, and after viewing it I'd probably say wait for it to hit Netflix or Redbox for a buck, but honestly $3 for a film that's got some pretty cool shots in it is kinda alright. Like I said, it was a fun watch and I feel like I got my moneys worth with it.
Check out the trailer below for The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead, available now on video on demand services!