Saturday, November 15, 2014


This 2014 film release is, well, INTERESTING.  And PRETTY DANG GOOD.  It's a Serbian picture filmed in Montenegro and drawing heavily on Greek mythology.  The director is Milan Todorovic, and the actors include Zorana Kostic Obradovic, Mina Slabic and Franco Nero.  I have to say that seen from the perspectives of INTERPSECIES ROMANCE, horror films in general and KEEPING OUR SECRETS SAFE, it's really not half bad. 

PLOT SUMMARY:  The film sets up the Shaved Monkeys for disaster from the very first scene when a young couple making out by the water comes to grief.  The young man is drawn irresistibly into the ocean, saying he hears singing...then disappears under the surface in a gout of blood.  His girlfriend, who heard nothing at all, screams for help until someone comes...And she is promptly dispatched in a way that is bound to give ANY fish viewer the shudders...But also a twinge of satisfaction, because for once it's not happening to one of US.  This time we get to see one of US doing it to one of THEM.  Ha!

Cut to the next scene, that shows a couple of great-looking young women arriving with luggage at what is clearly the same place we saw in the opening scene.  They are visiting an old college buddy, a great-looking guy.  The filmmakers wasted some valuable screen time here, building up the relationships between the human characters and giving us backstory, much of it quite pointless, but of course many of the viewers are going to belong to the species we mean to recruit, and you have to keep them engaged somehow until we can get to the good parts of the story.  These landscum -- one of them so committed to living on solid ground that she feels funny getting into a boat -- decide to go exploring on a nearby island, the local equivalent of Alcatraz minus the park rangers and souvenir bars of soap.  The place is deserted and has a very nasty history; in fact a man at the next table in the cafĂ© warns the vacationers not to go there, because nothing good can come of hanging around a place that was once a Nazi concentration camp. 

Landscum vacationers being what they are, they respond to this warning by setting out the next morning to see the island.  It's a lovely place, with handsome antique stonework, buildings designed with mysterious intent and a remarkable well in the center of a courtyard right in the middle of it all -- and when one of the vacationers takes a snapshot of the well's interior, what does she see but a woman in the water, looking up at the lens plaintively.  At this point they have to run because they hear someone coming (does it not occur to them to ask the stranger if he can help them help the woman?), and from their hiding places they see the same rubber-booted figure we remember from the first scene.  He approaches the well and pours a bucket of severed hands and feet into the water.  Uh-oh!  Serial killer!

Sure enough, they find his lair in a corner of the facility, papered with articles about missing people and featuring a bathtub lined with bloodstains.  How can they save the man's female captive without being seen?  What is that singing the college buddy says he is hearing down the corridor?  WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?


>>  This story is basically an outgrowth of the stubborn belief in Sirens, MANY GENERATIONS after we stopped using this recruiting technique for good.  The other title of this movie?  Killer Mermaid. 

>> You have to ask who the recruiting operative is in this story, honestly.  Is it "Scylla," the title character?  At first glance you would think so -- she's the only one in the story with gills.  Then what about the guy known in the credits only as The Guardian, with his grappling hook and blade sharpener?  What do you say about Niko, the man who warns the vacationers to go nowhere near the island in a way that almost guarantees they will hotfoot it over there to take a look, and who also turns out to know the Guardian from way, way back?  Or Bob, who keeps daring everyone to go ahead and check the place out?  IS IT NOT OBVIOUS THAT THEY ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO GET EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL?

>> And what about that well at the center of the island?  Does it not remind you of the one at the bottom of the sea in another movie I've reviewed here, Dagon? (See the entrance to that other well in the image below.) Who built the well in this movie, with what project in mind?  I couldn't help noticing that it appears to have passages leading out into the ocean for Mermaid travel convenience.  So is the well filled with saltwater?  Who builds a saltwater well, IF NOT US? Who builds water-filled tunnels under and island with exits leading to the dry land on top, IF NOT US?

>> What about the relationship between Scylla and The Guardian?  It's implied that they love each other so much that her kiss can bring him back from the dead, but we never get to see that much of their relationship.  And if Scylla has her man, why is she still recruiting guys like the unnamed boyfriend in the first scene?  If she DOESN'T have her man, why is the guardian chopping people up and feeding them to her?  Clearing up some of these questions, and making the nature of the relationship more explicit, would make this movie a MUCH better recruitment film, but oh well.

>> Niko implies that the mermaid is the last of her kind, but he also seems to expect it when a school of others come a-calling towards the end.  What does this guy know?  What does he not know?  Where does he fit into this story?

>> I have to say, I'm intrigued by the idea, advanced in this film, that a Mermaid might be able to look MORE human when she wants, and then switch back when it's convenient to look more, you know, fishy.  If only that were practical!

>> I also wish it were practical to create ANY recruiting model that can take a gouging from a spear fisherman, then heal up within a minute and get back into the game.  IF ONLY!

>> And what about that cliffhanger ending?  WILL THERE BE A SEQUEL?

I expect this one to generate a lot of discussion at the chapter meetings.  AND you can actually enjoy watching it.


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