Two salty sea men (I just keep ’em cumming, eh boils n’ ghouls?) sit around yappin’ about mermaids as so many of us do. Well, this gets to that, and these bastards not only catch a mermaid (Alexandra Bokova), but they cut her goddamn tail off too… like seriously, who does that?
A rando dude, Dr. Beyer (Burt Culver), comes to her rescue… kind of, as he doesn’t seem to be much better than her captors ,and takes her to the psychiatric hospital where he works as a psychiatrist for disturbed young women. The other patients don’t really get on with our former fish heroine (who has grown legs by the by), especially when she does shit like jumping in a pool like a lunatic and expecting her tail to return.
Let me tell you lot, our heroine better try and make nice because the whole gaggle are in deep fuckery territory as the good doc is up to some weird ass shit for who knows what reason and is definitely breaking some Hippocratic oaths… or all of them… yeah, it’s definitely all of them. Additionally a ghost and serial killer factor in; hilarity ensues.
A lot is being made of the fact Mermaid Down was made on a smaller scale budget, and after slapping my eerie eyeballs upon it I can see why. This is one slick looking picture, artfully shot with a ton of care and attention given to each aesthetic decision that truly makes the off-kilter world this film inhabits seem at times both gorgeous and as unto a fever dream.
As good as the flick looks, the acting on display is it’s equal with Bokova giving a impressively physical performance that conveys her every emotion without the benefit of dialog (the character basically sounds like some sort of dolphin), and Culver turning in a performance dripping with quite menace.
Also deserving a mention is the top-tier sound design and score (courtesy of Christopher Lord
and E. Shepherd Stevenson)… these elements can often be lacking in a film who’s budget is stretched in every direction, but by putting some extra attention here writer (along with co-creator Kelly Lauren Baker)/director Jeffrey Grellman makes the production seem more expansive.
One element that does give away the budget of the film, though not necessarily in a bad way, is the narrative (which I loved, just to put that out there), because I can tell you one thing; no studio would fork over a huge budget to something this insane. Just look at that description; mermaids, mental patients, ghosts… that would be a hard sell to get some corporation to split with their dough without a major director and star attached, and even then probably a solid “no”.
To sum it up; Mermaid Down is a dark fantasy that can be surreal, brutal, and ultimately full of human emotion and is definitely worth your time!