MOVIE REVIEW: NYMPH / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MILAN TODOROVIC / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: FRANCO NERO, KRISTINA KLEBB, NATALIE BURN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
As good as a film about a killer mermaid can possibly be, Milan Todorovic's Nymph sees a gang of college friends reuniting on an idyllic Mediterranean holiday, only to find themselves beset by a deranged fisherman played by Franco Nero and a pissed off Little Mermaid.
It's a bonkers premise, and the writing and direction do little to make it respectable. It's fine as long as the titular nymph remains unseen, her pet fisherman doing her dirty work. Beyond that, it's... well, it's a film about a killer mermaid. Todorovic's telling of the tale isn't going to win Nymph any Oscars, but he's talented enough nevertheless to elevate the film well above the level of the Syfy crap it could have been. Even more impressive, once you stop to consider that this is an independently funded film (helped out by a Serbian catering company!) that looks a good deal more beautiful than most mainstream studio pictures.
Starring a host of pretty young actors and actresses (plus a grizzled Nero as a fish fetishizing version of Dracula's Renfield) and utilising a series of gorgeous locations, it's never anything less than lovely to look at. It sounds great too, in a high camp Eurovision sort of way. Where it falters (beyond, you know, the mermaid) is in Todorovic's decision to have his actors speak in English instead of his native Serbian. This makes the dialogue come across as stilted, the actors vaguely uncomfortable. You can see why the decision has been made – a killer mermaid movie is a hard enough sell without subtitles – but it only highlights the many unintentionally comedic moments. Furthermore, it takes too long to get going, and the ending is utterly ridiculous.
Nymph is a flawed prospect, then, but not one without its considerable charms. Franco Nero is entertaining as the gruff local with a dark past (think Quint from Jaws – including the traumatic war history and subsequent speech) and the characters are well-defined enough for us to care about until their inevitable demises. Look, it's a killer mermaid film. You'll either be down for that or you won't.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10