Production - 8/10
Story Development - 5.8/10
Overall - 6.9/10
User Review( votes)
Starring: Iwan Rheon, Katelyn Mager, and Brendan Taylor
Directed by: Nicholas Humphries
Written by: Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (story), Bob Woolsey, and Meagan Hotz
Wild Eye Releasing
Her story begins where the fairy tale ends…
A fairy tale classic goes under the frightening sea this September with Mermaid’s Song, premiering on digital from Wild Eye Releasing.
A dark homage to Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, and starring Game of Thrones’ Iwan Rheon, the film is set during the 1930s depression and tells of young Charlotte, who is struggling to keep the family business afloat. When gangster Randall offers to pay off the family debt – he demands some illegal changes to the business. But Charlotte, like her mother before her, is a mermaid capable of controlling humans with nothing but her voice, which creates a battle between all of those who want Charlotte’s magical powers for themselves.
Mermaid’s Song was originally released in 2015 as Charlotte’s Song, and is set in the 1930s and explores a Depression-era American family with a mythical twist. Honestly, the jury is still out on this one!
Mermaid’s Song is an interesting take on a classic tale. In fact, it’s what really drew me in to watch this. I’ve grown up watching The Little Mermaid and at the same time Horror is in my blood. The horror element of this movie is not there but there is an element of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth.
For a low budget film, the movie does well in working with the scenery and imagery. Maybe the low budget lends itself to the Depression feel of the movie. The production is what really saves this film and there’s obviously a lot of research done on the props and locations. The sound is a completely different issue and we’ll save that for the next section!
The acting is a mixed bag here; so, for now, let’s put it in the “good” section.
Charlotte played by Katelyn Mager, is a beautiful young woman who wants to believe in the best in everyone, protecting her sisters and longing to be part of the family. She anchors the production and gives the bad guys a real chance to shine.
Iwan Rheon as Randall is elegantly evil. He works well as the opposite to Charlotte while equally anchoring the production. I also particularly liked the character of Emily played by Jesse Fraser who leads the ladies and provided a strong female character. George (Brendan Taylor) is really the only character I just really disliked and if you watch the movie you’ll understand why.
Here’s where things got messy. The plot was just confusing and ultimately disappointing. Depression-era America and it seems like a good idea to have a speakeasy in the middle of nowhere? So obviously it doesn’t do well and with the help of a gangster and some alcohol, the speakeasy turns into a brothel. I won’t spoil much else but George does not come out in a shining light at the end of it.
Unfortunately, another issue I had with it was the sound mixing which was very garbled, particularly in the first half of the film. So much so I had to check my sound settings a few times… I don’t know maybe there was a point to make, whatever the case, it didn’t make it.
Ultimately this film is not a horror. I’m struggling to understand what it is, perhaps a gritty historical fantasy, maybe a thrilling fantasy… I’m still not sure. In short the lack of clarity just really affected the movie.
This point still hurts. Earlier I mentioned that a big reason for watching this movie was that I grew up with Horror and The Little Mermaid. Imagine my disappointment when The Mermaid appears for all of a minute, if even, and doesn’t really do much. I think if this movie was still advertised as Charlotte’s Song the movie might stand a better chance. This begs the question, why did they change it?
That point aside it’s a decent independent movie given the obstacles and does have some good nods to the fairy tale it’s loosely based on so for that reason it’s a solid yet problematic movie.
Mermaid’s Song is available now digitally on demand.