Alternate Title: Nymph (Original Title: Mamula)
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3171764/
Starring: Kristina Klebe, Franco Nero, Natalie Burn, Dragan Micanovic, Zorana Kostic Obradovic, and numerous other Serbian actors
Review: Two American women (aren’t they always?) go on a summer trip to Europe (don’t they always) to meet up with an old friend from college who happens to be an old flame of one of the women (isn’t he always?), who turns out to be engaged to a woman from his home town. They meet the new woman’s old friend, who is kind of an endearing creep (isn’t he always?) who takes them on an adventure to an island they’ve been warned off of (aren’t they always?) because it’s evil (you get the gist).
So, the movie opens on a fairly standard “man and woman having scenes of being in love, woman takes her top off, man and woman get killed” scene. You know the drill. Bog-standard horror movie trope. We then meet our Two American Women (Lucy and Kelly) by way of a very glamorous, backed-by-Eastern-European-Techno swimming pool scene (Natalie Burns’ character of Kelly gets a large amount of screen time in this film), and then we say hello to their old friend and his – surprise! – new fiancee (Slobodan Stefanovic’s Alex and Sofia Rajovic’s Yasmin).
The film introduces characters in a sort of semi-haphazard fashion, though not as haphazardly as Kelly’s accent changes. Seriously, once the core group is introduced, that’s it, we don’t meet anyone else. But Kelly’s accent. Well. I’ve been all over the continental United States and I’ve never heard some of those. I don’t know where Kelly’s supposed to be from. Perhaps she’s from the future.
There are a lot of things wrong with Mamula. The fact that they insist on quoting Moby Dick at random times (especially in one “this is supposed to be tense!” moment, which just really pulled me out of the scene). The over-use of electronic disco tunes at inopportune times. Several portions of the dialogue had me gagging. There is also a “How the hell did he survive THAT?” moment, but I suppose since he’s the Shambling Horror of the film… eh. I’ll give it a pass.
But, there are also a lot of things that are right with Mamula. The use of mythology and cold-war military doctrine in establishing the background of the monster. The fact that this is the only horror film I can think of that uses a spike-anchor as the primary murder weapon. A rational cause for Kelly’s fear of swimming. A surprise turn of events on which one of the Comely Female Protagonists lives and which one doesn’t. And some honestly quite good creature effects.
Where I found it: Do you really need to ask? I mean, seriously? Netflix. As always.
How much I paid for it: She came in to my office riding the staccato click-clack-click of five hundred dollar shoes, made of leather so black it sucked up all the light in the room, cloaking her legs in a dusky shadow that could have been been hand crafted silk in the outside world, but here just turned into another layer of the smokey dream that made up the whole of her figure. She stood there in the door, her eyes whispering to me from across the room, peering out from under the gently-downturned brim of her hat. Her lips never moved, they were forbidden by her blood-red lipstick to part, but her eyes, those soul-searching eyes, blue and clear like a mountain lake, drew my mind into the smokey haze that hung between us, and they whispered to me.
“I need your help, Mister Danger,” those snowmelt eyes said to me. “Someone took ninety four minutes of my life away, and I want them back.”
Points of interest: The titular killer mermaid of the film is done mostly in practical effects, apparently. Zorana Kostic Obradovic’s body movements are languid and awkward at the same time. The film puts a lot of thought into how a creature that lives in the water would interact with (and attack) creatures that don’t.
The Money Shot: Judo blocking the murder weapon. Seriously.