Expecting a couple of creature features about killer mermaids, I instead experienced two emotionally distressing movies about the mythical creatures being abused by man…and saved by women.
MERMAID’S SONG (2015)
Despite hating period pieces, I gave this a shot because the plot was intriguing. After the death of his wife in the 1930s, a man allows a sleazoid to take control of the family business–a song and dance show put on by his daughters, one of which happens to be part of a mermaid bloodline.
We see a lot of the song and dance. A LOT. A lot more than we do of a mermaid.
There are exactly two instances in which the girl’s mermaid side reveals itself…one only a semi-reveal.
This is really a tragic tale about a desperate father who essentially pimps out his daughters, particularly the young mermaid girl. A hot daddy type baddie (aren’t they always?) disgustingly sets his sights on the girl.
Her sisters attempt to protect from the awful things coming her way…but it turns out she can protect herself.
There’s also an old, witchy lady who seems to be the mermaid’s guardian and tries to prepare her to accept the truth of what she is.
This is more a dark fantasy—think The Shape of Water—with a couple of quite satisfying, gory horror moments.
MERMAID DOWN (2019)
I love that this movie kicks right into high gear. After two fishermen talk about capturing a mermaid and cutting off her tail for money, they practice what they preach.
Not surprisingly, this is another film that simultaneously sends a message as to how repugnant and vile men are towards both the animal kingdom and women. This man’s face pretty sums up the despicable hatred many people envision when they think of the old white men running this country and its people into the ground for their own selfish purposes.
The mermaid’s tail is hacked off, she grows legs, and she’s then thrown in a mental institution because she believes she’s a mermaid. It is quite a confusing transition, so it takes a while to adjust to jarring shift in plot.
Although she doesn’t speak, the mermaid is taken under the protective wing of the other women in the institution. The nasty bad main man becomes even more sadistic than we first thought, and the mermaid befriends…a female ghost! WTF?
I think the ghost thing is a bit excessive and totally unnecessary, but you can mostly look past it (right through it actually) as the women band together to break the mermaid free.
This one is like The Shape of Water meets Sucker Punch, and although there’s more mermaid than in Mermaid’s Song, I think Mermaid Down is even less of a horror movie than that—although it is definitely mermaid torture porn.