January 28, 2019 Mermaid Lake of the Dead (Movie Review)
Are you afraid of the water? In the case of the new flick Mermaid Lake of the Dead, you should be.
A Russian film, originally titled Rusalka: Ozero myortvykh, directed by Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy (Queen of Spades: The Dark Rite 2015, The Bride 2017), Mermaid Lake of the Dead makes it way to the USA on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, Redbox, and On Demand as of Tuesday, February 5th, thanks to Scream Factory. A mix of Horror and Romance, it is a terrifying little tale just ahead of the Valentine’s Day holiday that will make you rethink swimming in a lake ever again.
The story begins with a man (Igor Khripunov: The Icebreaker 2016, The Bride 2017) standing on a platform next to a lake in the dead of night. He is soon joined by his love (Nadezhda Igoshina: The Envelope 2017) who is quickly yanked into the lake by an unknown force never to be seen again.
Fast forward two decades, it is learned the man and woman whose lives were severed had children, particularly a son named Roma Kitaev (Efim Petrunin: Ded Moroz. Bitva Magov 2016, Gulyay, Vasya! 2017). Roma, a handsome young man who is ironically an athletic swimmer for competition, is set to marry a lovely woman named Marina (Viktoriya Agalakova: Velikaya series, The Bride 2017).
Roma’s swim team pal, Iyla (Nikita Elenev: Legkoe dykhanie 2018, Proigrannoe mesto 2018), looks to help him celebrate one last hurrah with a group of other friends down at the lake house. The house, nearly abandoned for 20 years, belonged to Roma’s mother and father, and the lake, well, it is the same one from the tragic past.
Unaware of the history of it all, Roma escapes the shenanigans of his friends to go call his fiancé Marina, but unfortunately becomes the next target of the same evil mermaid (Sofia Shidlovskaya) that lured his father and dragged his mother into the lake. Will Roma resist the seduction of this wraithlike creature pleading for him to confess his love, or will history repeat itself and curse Roma and Marina’s romance?
Mermaid Lake of the Dead is an interesting story that develops at a steady pace over the 80-plus minute runtime. You can feel the love Roma and Marina share is true, thus making the prospect of it being torn apart, much like his parents’, a real heartbreak. The mermaid remains mysterious for most of the film. Coupling a whispering voice, with a relatively unknown appearance, you are only given glimpses of her – a hand over the shoulder, a face draped in wet hair, etc. A factor that adds to the eerie quality, perhaps the most signature aspect of the film’s effectiveness is the use of water. With the siren being from the water, intelligently, Podgaevskiy make any type of water’s time on screen stand out – whether it be Marina nearly drowning in a pool, or the beads of water that glimmer off Roma’s skin emerging from water.
Additionally, the film’s pace and subtle textures are also complimented by wonderful cinematography, giving various viewing perspectives; whether it be from inside a shower head or the beautiful underwater scenes. Color and light are vital in a movie of this type as well, and many modern films often end up looking too bright or over saturating their colors. Mermaid Lake of the Dead does neither. Yes, it is high definition, bright, and colorful, but the darker tones are balanced just enough to keep the atmosphere creepy enough.
Overall, Mermaid Lake of the Dead is a strong film that features good acting and a compelling story. For those who understand Russian, you can watch Mermaid Lake of the Dead in its native language. If you do not, you can watch it with English subtitles or even with overdubbed English audio tracks. A quality Horror film worth giving a watch, Cryptic Rock give it 4 out of 5 stars.