Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Film Review: Nymph (Mamula)

Let’s face it, horror films are a good investment, because they are popular on every imaginable scale. Small indie films like Jug Face can even turn out to be interesting outside of the genre, while cleverly crafted blockbusters like Insidious Chapter 2 can bring in 41 million US dollars on the opening week (the entire film was made on a 5 million budget). Thankfully, someone realized this in Serbia and now we got Mamula (international title will be Nymph).

Milan Todorovic is a Serbian director who became known after his film Zone of the Dead, a horror that tried to exploit the city of Pancevo and its real toxic industry. This time, Todorovic decided to exploit a small island in the Republic of Montenegro, called Mamula. There, a small group of friends decides to explore the old fortress located on the island, including two American girls visiting their college friend. A carefree afternoon soon turns into bloodshed after the group discovers a strange, armed man pouring chopped up human remains into an abandoned fortress well.

In this film, Todorovic went for the “see horror” sub-genre, with a pinch of creature feature story format. In the first minutes, the audience can bask in the summer sun and naked (or almost naked) bodies of the main cast, before they make the mistake of visiting Mamula. The whole movie is in English, except a few short lines on local languages. This is why the actors (who don’t speak English as their native language apart from Kristina Klebe) struggle with correct pronunciation.

In fact, they struggle so much that the acting gets the back seat. While this film isn’t exactly Sharktopus it doesn’t take itself very seriously, so the bad acting isn’t a big problem. The script was also written in very broad strokes, so it’s no wonder that the plot holes are plentiful, and that the dialog isn’t exactly top notch. A lot of the times, the characters say thing just for the sake of saying them, and no relevant information is transmitted either between them or the audience.

The last third of the film gets a lot better when Franco Nero re-enters the plot. He plays a mysterious fisherman who knows what is going on Mamula, and his screen presence works wonders for the final showdown. Todorovic is really lucky he got Nero to join in the cast, because even in his seventies, the man can still act.

With a great location, a few good actors (namely Nero and Klebe) and a touch of gore, Todorovic made a solid international film that will entertain in the exact amount expected from a B-rate horror flick.