Nymph aka Killer Mermaid (2014) Not Bad but Not Good

Nymph aka Killer Mermaid (2014) Not That Bad but Not That Good  Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 09.59.14
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.

Life in the Real Desert: A Day of Rest

Schwinn 700C - my bike

After a busy Saturday spent learning that no one in town really wants to buy anything despite what their signs say and watching the screener of Awaken at Burger King it was decided, by me, to rest on the seventh day of life in the real desert. Although to be quite honest, contrary to what my Facebook post says, I was tired from riding my new bike over 14 miles each and every day for six straight days. The final deciding factor was looking down and seeing bruises on my legs.

While not too concerning, they are the result of taking one of my heart medications, it bothered me enough that I felt Sunday would be best spent writing my review for Awaken, starring Natalie Burn, and possibly writing an article or two as well as posting on my blog.

As with most “best made plans” about the only real thing accomplished was sleeping in and writing the review. Forgetting that the Internet is agonizingly slow out here in the middle of the desert, my plans were waylaid fairly easily. On the plus side, a little RV cleaning was done with the idea that a clean home is a happy home.

This was also a chance to catch up on my Asian cinema DVD collection and watch some old favorites. The Pang Bros’ Recycle, Takeshi Miike’s One Missed Call, and the Korean knock off of Kim Ji-Woon’s Tale of Two Sisters; Epitaph. All of these are films that I can watch over and over. After a triple serving of Asian horror, it was time to watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Downey, Kilmer and Monaghan directed by the more than capable Shane Black.

It was interesting to learn that as Quartzsite nears the end of its season, that no one on the main drag wanted to buy a wireless Apple keyboard or magic mouse (hardly used). Of course having to explain to the store owner (“We Buy, Sell, Trade”) what a magic mouse was could have had something to do with it. Although the shop did have laptop carry cases for sale…

The other strike out was a place that buys old coins, gold, antiques etc. Granted, my trip was just to see what sort of offer might be given for an old 1926 silver dollar and a silver 50 cent piece. Turns out, according the the chap who runs the shop, that 1926 was not a “spectacular” year for silver dollars. This meant that the price for the coin was $16. Interesting, but not enough to persuade me to sell this old bit of change.

The guy was not too bothered that I did not want to part with the coin, “After all,” he said, “16 bucks won’t buy a meal at McDonalds these days.” I did not want to argue, but I could have eaten several $1 cheeseburgers over the course of a number of meals. Still, one man’s cheap burger is another man’s super size quarter pounder with cheese.

Apart from checking on whether personal retail really was a possibility in Quartzsite, it was odd to see the town so deserted. In an odd way, the place feels more comfortable, if not safer. The old snowbirds who flock to this town all suffer from diminished driving skills. The fact that they have driven to another area is, overall, a good thing.

Although to be fair, it isn’t just the aged who drive as though they have left their brain at home in the walk-in closet. On one afternoon, while walking to town, I was almost hit by a lorry (a semi in USA speak), an RV who was towing a trailer behind it almost as long as the RV itself, an idiot in a pickup truck who passed another car and came so far toward the other side of the road that I had to leap to safety and some jackass who left so little room between me and the car that a mosquito would have been killed had it tried to fly in the gap.

Other times, there are drivers who refuse to leave a door’s width between their speeding vehicle and my bike. Not too upsetting if they are slowly passing by, but most are hitting around 50 mph. The combination of being way too close and too much speed has, on more than one occasion, almost made my heart leap out of my throat.

The point being that out of all those dangerous drivers mentioned above, none appeared to be over 40.

Still, my day of rest has allowed me to ponder what the summer months will bring and how much I need to set up a routine. Getting up early has never been my thing. I can do so and have but not willingly or well. Still, I now know that I am becoming a “regular” at one fast food place, Burger King, and staff at a lot of shops speak more readily now and will share a little laugh occasionally.

The weird way I speak helps. Having an accent that people mistake for Australian “Throw some shrimp on the barbie and crack open a few tinnies mate,” always helps to make one more memorable. There will obviously come a point where I do not have to explain where the accent comes from and that I was actually born in this country. Until then, it is (pun intended) a talking point which allows me to be that bit more approachable.

My list of things to write about, in the small town of Quartzsite, includes the small empty house on the way to town and the local celebrity (silent film star) who was given a sword by the famous Pancho Villa. There are many other things about life in the real desert which are fascinating and these will also be addressed whilst I write my own stories and continue to seek monetary recompense for articles written.

8 March 2015

Awaken: Natalie Burn Rocks in Action Film

Poster for Awaken

Awaken stars Natalie Burn in her first action film after Expendables 3 where she played Mel Gibson’s other half. She rocks in the movie as a young Russian girl looking for her ne’er-do-well sister who has gone missing from a prison. Burn’s character is called Bille Kope and the name indicates her nature. Taught to fight by her father, the young lady takes on every obstacle placed in her path.

Read the rest of my review on Viral Global News by clicking [here].