THE MERMAID’S SONG (a.k.a. Charlotte’s Song) (a.k.a. Mermaid’s Song) *** Canada 2015 Dir: Nicholas Humphries 88 mins
Billed as a dark homage to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” this kind of follows on from the original tale. The mermaid made her life on the land, married and had five daughters. After her untimely passing her husband, who continues to run the family bar and dance show starts to struggle financially. Set in Oklahoma in the 1930’s during the depression, widow and father George is forced to ask for help from a gangster who agrees only if they employ some rather dramatic and unsavoury changes to the entertainment.
In the meantime youngest daughter Charlotte is coming of age and starting to notice she is slightly different from her siblings but she still wants to join in with her sister’s dance act. Like her mother she is a mermaid and possesses magical powers that can have a strange effect on humans but will also have a profound lasting effect on her family. Dark, gothic, evil spirited and bleak without showing anything in great detail this is aimed at a horror audience . Great period costumes, dialogue and setting. Music of the period features highly in this and is very fitting but sometimes it’s a bit tuneless, misplaced and not as polished as it could be. Katelyn Mager is Charlotte, with Brendan Taylor as George and Iwan Rheon as gangster Randall. All are very good but hats off to Taylor who has the hardest job as his character is at rock bottom but is also a complete coward and he portrays this excellently. Rheon, as always, plays the bad guy so effectively. The effects are mostly CGI but the creature looks ok. The mermaid is made to look a lot less human then the Disney version. There is a fair bit of blood and a reasonable body count to boot. With no sighting of a singing crab or a pet fish but a tiny hint of an Ursula this is a great idea, well executed and it was an enjoyable watch but definitely not one to show the kids.
Review by Sarah Budd