08th Oct2018

‘Mermaid’s Song’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Iwan Rheon, Katelyn Mager, Brendan Taylor, Jessie Fraser, Steve Bradley, Barbara Wallace, Trevor Gemma, Natasha Quirke, Leala Selina, Casey Strandquist | Written by Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, Bob Woolsey, Meagan Hotz, Lindsey Mann | Directed by Nicholas Humphries


A horror version of The Little Mermaid sounds like the best and worst idea for a movie but that’s exactly how Mermaid’s Song is described.

To add some other strangeness to proceedings this story is set in 1930s Oklahoma, America and a family run business that involves five sisters singing and dancing. And we get to watch a lot of 1930s-style singing and dancing, which isn’t exactly what I expected. In among that we get some gangsters who offer to save the family business but as with all gangsters they have some unpleasant conditions to the deal. You might be thinking how exactly this all links up with a mermaid and it is as bizarre as it sounds.

Unfortunately, the horror element of Mermaid’s Song is kept to a minimum. For me personally this is a disappointment for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m obviously a big fan of the genre and without it this is just a poor coming of age drama. But also, the most entertaining scenes in Mermaid’s Song are the horror-filled ones. There’s a surprisingly great transformation scene (yes that’s a transformation from human to mermaid instead of say a werewolf) and some of the final moments where we actually see some deaths, it’s actually a lot of fun. But these are like the bread of a very big sandwich. And what’s in that sandwich isn’t very interesting. There’s a few poor gun fights, a couple of pantomime villains and coming of age that never really gets going.

The only other small moment that had me slightly wincing was the decent practical effects for an injury. More of this and things would have looked up.

Mermaid’s Song has a much to modern ‘look’ for a film set in the 1930s. There’s not modern buildings or anything like that but everything looks very ‘clean’ and too much like an actual set. The same goes for the costumes. Everyone looks too smart and clean. Even the ‘dirt’ doesn’t look dirty enough! Unfortunately this kind of “falsehood” moves on to the characters as well…

In that I always knew that the actors were exactly that… actors, and just playing parts. It can’t completely be put down to the cast because some of them put in decent performances. Steve Bradley as Tim puts in the most natural performance while the best known actor, Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones, has his moments and can obviously play a good villain but something doesn’t quite feel right and nothing works as well as it should. None of the female characters, for instance, are given anything of interest to work with.

This isn’t the first horror movie I’ve seen that involved a mermaid and I’m still not sure there’s anything to be scared of. Even if they can control what people do with the sound of their voice, no-one seems to have made this in anyway frightening.

So whether Mermaid’s Song is a missed opportunity or a movie that was never going to work I’m not really sure. I will have to wait a little bit longer to see a mermaid that will terrify me.

** 2/5


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