While on a vacation in the Mediterranean, two American women and their accompanying Serbian friends stumble into the home of a vicious killer mermaid. They must try and survive.
“She hypnotizes you.” By this, one of the film’s characters means: she makes a dolphin-like call, compelling you to get in the water, then rips you to shreds. As if she couldn’t eviscerate victims easily enough, she has the help of another killer, an I-Know-What-You-Did-Last-Summer kind of psycho, who is wandering around impaling people with an anchor. Only an old, loner fisherman (played by none other than Django himself, Franco Nero) can save you—maybe. I should mention this old seaman can give ominous warnings like none other. Doom-laden monologues abound when he’s near.
We’re talking about killer mermaids and their companions: would-be slasher movie villains with a nautical twist. No Ivar, no!
NYMPH aka KILLER MERMAID aka MAMULA is the story of Kelly and Lucy, two American women on vacation. You believe they’re American, too, for the most part. Their Eastern-European accents poke out only occasionally. Lucy is planning on reuniting with one of her ex-boyfriends, Alex. He’s a real catch. It turns out, to Lucy’s subconscious dismay, he’s also engaged. Alex is going to marry Yasmin, from his native country of Serbia, but not after one last roll in the hay with Lucy. Scandalous.
This means his future wife is going to be cruising around with them on his ultra-deluxe power boat. The group of vacationing party people is almost complete. Then Boban turns up. But you can call him Bob. “Like the actor, Bobby De Niro.” Now that they’re all together, these friends and new acquaintances concoct the idea to go explore an abandoned military base, which, unbeknownst to any of them, is a former Nazi concentration camp. Also unbeknownst to them, it’s the lair of a killer mermaid, and her serial killer companion.
Danger thus abounds as they explore the old military base: monstrous things and people are trying to extirpate them there. Can they survive? Not without the help of Niko, a chiseled, old sea dog.
KILLER MERMAID could have been a good flick. The eponymous villain looks great. Very creepy. The presence of Franco Nero, a cult movie icon, should have worked, too. But, in no way, does he gel with the rich, ritzy pack of skimpy-bathing-suit-clad vacationers. Casting-wise, no chemistry exists between Nero and the rest of the cast. Pun not intended: he’s a fish out of water. As unintentionally entertaining as his warning monologues are, he simply doesn’t belong in this one.
Not one but two killers also puts up too much disparity. They detract from each other. Storywise, their relationship barely coheres. And come on . . . an anchor?
Cinematically, the endless screenshots KILLER MERMAID employs are bound to make you seasick. What is this, SEVEN DAYS SIX NIGHTS? Chill out with the sweeping camerawork. The movie looks like a cruise ship commercial. It’s a strange atmospheric choice for a twenty-first century monster movie. A strange atmospheric choice, indeed.
And the character development . . . All the characters have these backstories. The movie puts up so much energy explaining its characters’ backstories. It creates a big festival of sub-plots that, unfortunately, go absolutely nowhere.
There are nods to creature feature sleaze, here, but nowhere near enough. It’s too busy explaining why Lucy has a compulsive fear of blah-blah-blah because once when she was a little girl her ya-da-ya-da-ya.
Ultimately, you’re better off watching PIRAHNA 3-D, POSEIDON REX, or SHARKNADO for the sort of experience KILLER MERMAID is going for.