She Creature (April 7/02)
She Creature takes an agreeable enough premise that would suit a 30-minute short just fine, and stretches it out to a nearly unbearable hour and a half.
Rufus Sewell and Carla Gugino star as a pair of carnies - he's the head of a large freak show while she plays a singing mermaid - who make the discovery of a lifetime. As they're getting set to leave yet another town, they notice an old man still waiting by the mermaid section. After offering to drive him home, the old man offers to show them something amazing. They're skeptical, but they humor the guy. Turns out he's got a real live mermaid trapped in a tank within one of the many rooms of his house. Sewell nods appreciatively, but we can see he's got plans for that abomination. He returns later with a crew, and proceeds to steal the half woman/half fish. The immediately board a boat bound for America, where Sewell believes he'll be the toast of the town with his discovery. Unfortunately, the mermaid has other plans…
The idea behind She Creature is interesting enough - a killer mermaid massacres an entire crew - but it's just not enough to fill an entire movie. The first hour and fifteen minutes limp by, and nothing much happens. We discover that the mermaid is able to communicate with anyone she wants via a psychic link, so Gugino finds herself on the receiving end of her telepathic transmissions. This leads to sequence after sequence of Gugino hanging around the room where the mermaid is kept, either chatting casually with her or imploring her not to kill anymore people. Let's face it, with a title like She Creature (and backed by a production company entitled "Creature Features") all we really want out of this movie is a bad-ass mermaid killin' lots of folks. But we don't get that until the final 15 minutes.
And then, when the psycho mermaid finally does begin offing hapless crew members, we don't even get to see most of it! Sewell and a few other survivors stumble into what I can only assume was the mess hall, notice about a dozen dead men, and comment "why, she's murdered the entire crew!" Lame. The ending's not bad, I suppose, but it leaves the door unabashedly open for a sequel.
She Creature should have been cheesy and fun. Instead, it's just cheesy.