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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's always nice to see a movie that does something a little different,
and if there is one creature that hasn't been used a lot in movies;
it's the mermaid. She Creature follows a band of circus performers that
discover an old man that owns a mermaid and decide to steal it, take it
to America and get rich. However, things are never that simple and the
mermaid turns out to be more than a pretty fish that looks like a lady;
she's also a blood sucking fiend!
The film is shot in the style of the old monster movies, and that is much to the film's credit. The scene in which the mermaid is introduced, especially, is very striking and creates a great sense of mythology about the title creature. The setting of the scene is vibrant because of the Gothic style of it; the tank, the basement it's in, even the mermaid itself is spot on. The film carries off a very clever trick regarding the mermaid, which, intentional or not, is clever; by introducing a 'fake' mermaid first, when the 'real' mermaid is introduced, because it looks such an awesome spectacle in comparison to the fake one we saw earlier, we are able to believe that it's real. This is a very good in the movie because in a creature feature, if you can't buy the creature, the movie generally doesn't work very well.
The mythology of the mermaid is also done well in this movie. For the better known monsters such as vampires or zombies, building the mythology is easy because everyone already knows the story and therefore the film can afford to not worry about that so much. However, here it's different because the mermaid, although it is well known itself, it's story isn't, particularly the more horror friendly version of the story, i.e. not the one in 'The Little Mermaid'. The mermaid's mythology is shown clearly to the audience, who is then able to see it in action through way of a fantastic spectacle of an ending. The creature effects on the mermaid towards the end as she turns into a raving monster remain well done, despite the absurdity of the creature, but the ending's real brilliance comes when the seamen get to 'Mermaid Island' and we see shots of several mermaids in the water. What makes it so interesting is that it delves almost into an unknown, the way that there are still things out there to discover. Not to mention the incredible beauty of the scene itself. She Creature is not a masterpiece, but it is very good and I give it a big thumbs up.
Scorsese's mantra 'less money, more power' gets the full workout here as top drawer acting, a compelling story and great visuals all get thrown in a blender to create this clever mini masterpiece. Allegedly shot in 18 days, this made for cabler leaves most so-called theatrical horror movies in the dust by tipping its hat to both Hammer and Lewton in creating a genre all its own: the mermaid pshychological horror movie. Carla Gugino (of Spy Kids and Center Of The World) pulls the whole thing together with an Award-worthy performance, playing one of the sexiest, smartest scream queens ever (with a British accent, no less) and Rufus Sewell's rascally take on her accomplice/betrayer is of equal note. Add to that the stunning Rya Kihlstedt as the creature and you're in creepy movie heaven. It's not usual for movies in this genre to be carried by acting and story, but that's exactly what She Creature does. Stan Winston's monster, Alien's oceanic cousin, is equally impressive.
This movie is one of 5 "Creature Features" made by HBO in 2001. The idea was to take a cheesy 1950s movie and remake it with better special effects. Stan Winston, the famous effects master, was one of the producers of this show. Not having seen the original, I don't know how this does as a remake, but it's a lot of fun on its own. A husband-wife team running a fake mermaid show at a carnival in Ireland are approached by a customer who seems crazy. He's very disappointed that the mermaid isn't real. They take him home to discover that he has in a tank in his house a real mermaid. The husband hatches a plot to steal the mermaid and take her to America to earn a fortune. The mermaid is convincing and beautiful, not to mention topless. The camera-work aboard ship is masterful. It evokes the claustrophobic closeness of a sailing ship below decks with close shots, tight framing and proximity of actors. There is also a subtle camera movement throughout these scenes evoking the sense of sea swells. I know this is an old trick, but I've rarely seen it done so well. There were long passages when I forgot it was happening, yet it contributed to the underlying reality of the movie space throughout. There are only a couple of surprises in the movie and both of them are homages to earlier great horror movies. I don't want to ruin it by giving them away, but you'll recognize them when you see them. There's not a lot of gore, by today's standards, but what there is is quite convincing. I don't think you'd want to let a sensitive 12-year-old see this movie. Also the mermaids are not portrayed as kindly creatures as they are in most movies.
With the cheesy title and the horrible DVD cover I was expecting some kind of "Species" clone, but this is an underappreciated mini-classic. A throwback to the Weird-Tales school of horror-stories from the 50s and 60s. This is a moody, atmospheric film with a good cast. Rufus Sewell, in particular, gives a great performance here. The mermaid effects are really good (no knees) and the mermaid girl is beautiful as well as creepy. The film has a polished, classic-cinema look that is extraordinary, considering the whole thing was shot in something like 20 days. My only complaint is that the sound on the DVD is EXTREMELY bad, the mix is such that you have to turn it wayyyy up to even hear the dialogue. Other than that minor caveat, this is a little gem of a movie.
She Creatures was an interesting take on mermaid lore. Hope the director & producers come out with a second part. Perhaps they'll even merit a budget appropriate to the task. This is ripe for a sequel, unlike so many other modern horror flicks. The cinematography was very good. The directing was likewise very good. I thought the make-up on the mermaid creature as she first appeared just decent, but the shots later in the film were very good. The close-ups would be ripe for some good computer graphics. Still, they did well with the technology they could afford. My guess is the writer was influenced by Lovecraft, but that is not played up in this film, and in fact is played down to the point of being unrecognizable to viewers unfamiliar with the Lovecraftian genre. I gave it 7 stars, but as I think back on it, I'd be inclined to give it 8 - 8.5 and I'm a harsh critic of modern horror films. With a decent budget this guy could kick some serious butt.
I must first qualify my remarks by saying I'm drawn to well made fairy
and mythological stories adapted to film. This movie was a surprising
delight, especially since when I saw it, it was considered a
"creature-feature". Only at the very end would the film fit that category.
The story is about the legendary tale of a mermaid who ends up on board a
ship with its newly acquired owner and his wife. The owner wants to bring
the mermaid to a circus type existence; he is totally devoid of any insight
into what he is really in possession of.
However, his wife does have a sense of a deeper reality and is drawn into
interplay with the mermaid which contains elements of a subtle eroticism. I
will say no more about the suspense involved in the film except to say that
historically mermaids have a disdain for sailors,and many stories seem to
speak of sailors who are lucky enough to come in contact with one, may not
necessarily be able to communicate the tale.
A truly delightful tale that I would rate highly in its genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*** stars out of ****.
A Freak-show owner meets a old man, who brings them back to his mansion and shows them a real live mermaid. The freak-show owner and his friends decide they want the fascinating crature on there tour, so they steal it and leave for America. On the way there, via ship, the mermaid transforms into a tropical fish monster and slaughters the crew.
"She creature" is a real gem, with excellent, classy production values, great acting, excellent special efects, a outstanding monster, and a neat ending. Yes, there are some pacing problems half-way through the film, but the final act with all the gore and monster action will help you forget all that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SLIGHT SPOILERS*** As I prepared to watch this movie I felt like it would be just another made for TV/video caliber film. But it was a refreshing surprise after watching this. Part of the "Creature Feature" series of films on Cinemax for October, She Creature is the set in turn of the 20th century Ireland. A traveling sideshow owner and his companion are shown steal a mermaid from an old man and set to travel back to America with the "find of the century". As you guess things start to go bad and the mermaid eats the ships crew one by one. Even though it followed the same type of plot as most "Creature" films, this was one of the best horror movies I have seen. Actually having a story that is worth following along with and good acting, this made for TV movie stands out, in my opinion, from most major Hollywood big budget pictures in recent years. One of the main reasons I watched this movie was to see the work of Stan Winston. His work in creating Rya Kilhstedt as the mermaid was wonderful in capturing the beauty of a mermaid and the later on "Queen" were both examples of creative and cool looking monsters. This move shows how to make an excellent horror movie with a story and not have to rely on flashy effects. I totally recommend this to anyone who likes a good scary movie and I look forward to the other films in the series.
Like others here, I saw this not expecting much. A cheesy cover, no
budget, a so so title bad effects -- but brother was I WRONG! This is a
magical wonderful movie with a style like Polanski and Tim Burton too!
Sexy and also really well plotted. I was shocked! Rufus Sewell (The
Illusionist) and Carla Gugino (everything she's in!) are so underrated
and sooooo good here! Rya Kihlstedt makes a great mermaid. Camera is
efficient at all times and sense of unease well sustained. Subject is a
bit adult with lesbian sexual tones throughout (executed in a very
thoughtful manner) but kids could almost watch this for old fashioned
WATCH IT WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
I saw this movie on TV a few months ago, and I liked it. With a small
budget, Sebastian Gutierrez managed to deliver a more than satisfying
The acting is pretty good! Certainly Rya Kihlstedt is really haunting as the mermaid! But also Carla Gugino, Rufus Sewell and Reno Wilson do well!
The special effects are (for a low budget production) good. The movie is also (to my surprise) quite intelligent and sometimes it's even psychological.
The last scene makes me want to see The Mermaid Chronicles, Part 2!
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