For every horror masterpiece at Frightfest there will always be the odd stinker loitering in the main screen biding its time and waiting. This year’s bonafide shitstorm was Nymph (Mamula), or “Killer Mermaid” as its better known in the states, a Serbian monster movie taking the mythological figure of the siren who lures unfortunate sailors to their death and supplanting it to a horror context. Zone of the Dead director Milan Todorovic’s creature feature, is a quirky and camp affair modelling itself explicitly on the dumb hijinks and fish hook wielding stalkers of I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) but with more resemblance to an episode of adventure TV series Fort Boyard than a horror flick. Even Halloween and Proxy star Kristine Klebe and the great Franco Nero are unable to help it rise from the murky depths of mediocrity.
The plot follows Kelly and Lucy, two young Americans on their break to Montenegro to meet up with their old college friend Alex. Joined by his fiancée Yasmin and pal Boban they decide against advice to visit an abandoned military fortress and one time Nazi concentration camp on the remote island of Mamula. However much to their terror, it is the home of a Siren a mermaid creature of Greek myth waiting there to lure men to her death with her trance like song and enchanting beauty. Plus she also has a protectorate, a fish hook swinging fisherman who will do anything to protect the islands secrets. While the nymph shares many relationships with the female succubus characters that have often graced horror history, Nymph falls flat on the basis of its laughable script, disposable characters and and a criminally underused mermaid creature. While the sirens gender discriminatory song picks off most of the male cast sharpish, even when Klebe’s mermaid transforms to a laughable CG monster she doesn’t really do much apart from struggle alluringly in a giant fish net and jump across the bow of a boat.
From the Micheal Bay ‘ass –cam’ following bikini clad characters, to the over –dramatic expository sailor stories of myth and legend, Nymph integrates elements that are the bread and butter of more modern creature features like Piranha 3D but fails to replicate the fun self –referential humor needed to sustain the dire script. Even though Todorovic shot the movie in a remarkable sixteen shooting days on a miniscule budget and the underwater photography is excellent, Nymph is a film of overwrought speeches, dramatic arcs that are discarded in the caverns of Mamula and cardboard cut – out characters. A promising genre exercise unfortunately harpooned by its own clichés
Director: Milan Todorovic
Cast: Kristina Klebe, Franco Nero, Natalie Burn, Dragan Micanovic, Miodrag Krstovic
Runtime: 90 mins