It is not often that a film falls right smack in the middle of the road, but the 2014 horror film Nymph, aka Killer Mermaid does just that. An “on the fence” film that is not that bad but not that good either. Certainly there are no bits that can be described as “laughably” bad, think Ed Wood here, and no monsters that resemble a killer shag carpet. It just feels like your average “Drive-In fare” some bare boobs, a little discrete sex, a killer mermaid and Franco Nero in a middling cameo that reaches its apex by the end of the film.
Helmed by Serbian film director Milan Todorovic, whose main claim to fame thus far is that his 2009 film Zone of the Dead is the first Serbian zombie film, Nymph boasts a leading lady, Kristina Klebe, that should have been killed off for ineffective acting rather than her costar Natalie Burn. Reading Klebe’s bio at IMDb, she appears to have been a military brat who stumbled into acting. While her skills in Nymph, were more than questionable that may be down to the script and the stilted dialogue.
Burn, however, who played the “second banana,” which meant she was doomed to die before the last reel finished, did very well with the poorly written part dealt her. This was her first film as Natalie Burn, prior credits listed the actress as Natalia Guslistaya, and she does an acceptable job, despite being hired to wear the smallest shorts possible and provide eye candy for the audience. Luckily, Burn went on to The Expendables 3 and then her first starring role in Awaken. Her star is rising steadily, as is Klebe’s. So perhaps it was the bad dialogue after all.
The plot has two friends showing up at an old college chum’s place on an island off Greece. Upon arriving they learn he is getting married and he has not told his fiancee about his old flame being one of the two pals he invited. The film starts with a couple at the water’s edge about to go for a swim, the man is lured to the water by something his date cannot hear and once he plunges in, the unfortunate chap is attacked and killed.
The girl sits at the edge of the water screaming until a figure comes up behind her with a sharpened grappling hook and kills her mid-scream. Cue next day arrival of Klebe and Burn, as Kelly and Lucy. They meet up with Alex and after getting the “I Know What You did Last Summer” gag and reference out of the way, they see Franco Nero’s character, Niko. Dressed as a fisherman, we are meant to cast him as grappling hook man.
The film is awkward and unconvincing in many ways. The character interaction, the acting, the plot itself and the poorly orchestrated fight choreography all make the film seem like an old fashioned B film. Although the movie is not that bad it is hard to keep interested in the proceedings. Nero fans will keep watching to see what the filmmakers do with him and this may keep a number of folks watching till the credits roll.
The ending makes no real sense. It looks like Todorovic wanted the audience to believe that an epic sequel was in the works. *Spoiler alert!* When the killer mermaid is finally dispatched, the sea is filled with killer mermaids coming to exact revenge for the death of their sister. With only Nero and Klebe left alive, he states that they must save humanity, the two prepare to battle the horde (School?) of pissed off mermaids. Cue enthusiastic music and fade to credits.
Easily the worst thing about the film is its final moments. Ignore that and it is interesting to watch, if for no other reason than to see just how small the fashion designer could make Burn’s shorts. A 2.5 out of 5 stars. The .5 is for Franco Nero who would have earned an entire point had the film used him more. Streaming on US Netflix, watch it if you are bored.