DVD Review: Russian Horror MERMAID: LAKE OF THE DEAD

2.5 out of 5 stars

The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead is a modestly budgeted Russian-language horror film which tries to do something a little different. It isn’t wholly successful in what it attempts to achieve on a story level, but this an incredibly well shot and stylish movie which has a few good moments and enough energy to keep you interested until the end. 

Apparently based on an old Russian myth, The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead sees a villainous mermaid get the hots for a guy called Roman (Ivan Kapitonov) – and nothing will stop her from getting him to declare his love for her. When he does, she will be able to take him down into her subaquatic world to live out eternity or drown (whichever comes first). However, this underwater monster doesn’t count on the resilience of his feisty girlfriend, Marina (Natalya Dubovaya). She’s not going to let her man float-off with some underwater floozy. 

Lapses in realism might not be the thing to look-out for in a movie about a killer mermaid, but what I found irksome with The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead was that its male lead (and his best mate) just happened to be professional swimmers – apparently on a near Olympic level. I mean, what are the chances that you’re a grade-A swimmer and an evil water-dwelling creature wants to take you back to her underwater lair? Talk about coincidence. Or what about the fact that your girlfriend – who you need to rescue you – doesn’t swim at all and is actually afraid of the water! That’s some serious bad luck. 

Those sorts of logic leaps aside, The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead features some nifty special effects and well-balanced visuals. It’s a shame most US horror films don’t have such high production values. Full credit must go to director Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy, cinematographer Anton Zenkovich and the film’s special effects team for their achievements. 

We live in a world where low budget horror movies are ten a penny and while The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead might not be the best of the best, it is far from the worst of the worst. If you’re looking for a unique horror fix and want something with some visual panache, then this might be the movie for you. Just don’t mix it up with The Little Mermaid at your kid’s birthday party! If you do you’ll end up spending thousands on therapy for your little one. Ariel ain’t got nothing on this little mermaid.