You and your partner are planning to settle down. You know, living together, thinking about marriage, maybe children. What would you do if someone just decides to give you a house on the shore of a lake? Yes, it needs some repairing, some rebuilding, but it is a freaking house on a lake! Would you just take it? Or maybe you will concede yourself some time to evaluate the situation? Well, those questions and their possible answers are the core russian director Svyatoslav Podgayevskiy exploits to deliver his most recent film – The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead.
And well, since this is a horror flick, you may be looking for some answers about what really was going on in the movie. If that is your case, do not worry. Without further ado, we will figure out this movie and render its ending explained. And will add a review, as a bonus. What do you think?
1 ^ Does the movie have post-credit scenes?
Shortly, Quickly and Religiously – Thank God no. The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead has no post-credits scene.
2 ^ What is really the monster that shows up in the movie is a mermaid?
Good question. After all, the lady in question hangs around all day in the water and all that stuff, but she doesn’t look very much like a mermaid… she does not sing, neither nice songs nor evil ones, and she does not have that curious anthropomorphic tail under her belly. So, why is the movie called like that then? Short answer: because she is NOT a mermaid.
In fact, the real name of the monster turns up in the original title in Russian: Русалка, or Rusalka for those who do not like the Cyrillic alphabet that much.
Rusalka is a monster that appears a lot in Slavic mythology, yes that of Eastern Europe. Originally it was a kind of symbol of fertility; a kind of Slavic Saint Anne.
But in the 1800s, Rusalka was associated to female violence occurred in the water. That is, women killed by drowning, suicides in the water by love disappointments. And you do not have to think so much to deduce that the mystical entity that comes out of that gloomy background is not benevolent at all.
The only similarity that Rusalka shares with the mermaid (at least that of the Greek myth) is that they somehow attract men to certain death. But while Rusalka attracts men because of she finds them attractive, the mermaid does it to eat or to satisfy herself by hurting them.
But that is the end of the similarities. It is even noticeable that the mermaid is an entity associated with the ocean, while Rusalka is associated with inland waters: rivers and lakes. So no, nothing to do with each other.
3 ^ What kind of movie is exactly The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead?
Well, in addition to the fact that the film is russian, it is quite obvious the director’s purpose to make it suitable for international markets. The only cyrillic you see in the movie takes less than 3 seconds on the screen. The cast follows international standards, nothing too Slavic, rather the prototype of the Western European.
And then, evidently it is a horror film that follows too closely the boring rules of the international terror cliché. The movie has zero funny moments, the characters are dumb to die, the doors open and close alone, and the obligatory quota of jump scares. International terror, boys, international terror!
4 ^ Who is Lisa Grigorieva and how did she become that monster?
In short, the story of Lisa Grigorieva is basically she fell in love, she sacrificed a lot to stay faithful to her man, and the guy in question end up marrying another woman for reasons, perhaps, different from love.
Grigorieva ended up in the subject’s wedding, committing a murder. And she later decided that since she had killed the man she loved, she jumped into a lake to drown herself to death. She was buried next to the water, but years later the level of the water rose up, submerging her grave. And the equation where there is love, pain, suicide and water results in a creepy killer monster.
5 ^ What is the purpose of the misnamed Mermaid?
Well, if the legends say that they seek to conquer men because of their looks, there is not much to add to that, right? Well, apparently this is not what this rusalka is looking for. She seeks to project her tragedy, looking for men who resemble her beloved one, but not so much for the desire to have them, because she eventually kills them (as happened to Ilya) but to extract revenge on the woman who took his man away.
6 ^ What should you answer to the mermaid when she asks you if you love her?
Well, here all the options are pretty bad. If you tell her that you DO NOT love her, she hunts you, harasses you and alters you using water as a main resource, until you go nuts.
If you tell her that YES, you love her, then you are immediately under her power, and she will use you while she finds someone who does have a girlfriend on whom to project her revenge on.
And if you ignore her, then the same thing happens to you as if you tell her that you do not love her, so that’s not the answer either way. In those cases, the best is to avoid bumping into her, well, you know, avoiding going to abandoned houses near Russian lakes. That is a good start point.
7 ^ How did Roma and Marina end up in that mess with the Mermaid? How is it that Roma is the name of a man?
Well, just as Roma is a feminine name in the languages derived from Latin, in the Slavic countries, Roma is a masculine name like Vladimir, Boris or Ivan. It can help the fact that it is a variant of Roman, as well as Joey is short for Joseph, or Jack is short for Jacob, or Ben is short for Benjamin.
And now, how is it that Roma (Efin Petrunin) and her fiancée Marina (Viktoriya Agalakova) ended up stuck with the monster of the lake? Well, the father of Roma had already been in contact with the woman of the lake many years ago.
The Father (Igor Khripunov) approached the lake, not knowing that Lisa Grigorieva had been buried there, and then the body had been submerged in the water, due to the construction of a dam. Grigorieva, turned into Rusalka, kissed him and asked him the condemnatory question, do you love me? Leaving a very old comb behind.
The parents of Roma tried all the methods, including a prayer to return the comb to Grigorieva, but the matter is that the mermaid just wanted the woman that her man loves, and she wanted her dead, well after driving the man nuts. The mermaid killed Roma’s mother and the father was left insane, leaving his two children in charge of his grandparents.
But apparently, the insane father thought it was a very good idea to give his son the house of misfortune, on the condition that he sold it and took some money from it. But Roma and especially Marina did not understand the hint and thought they should make some repairments, either to live in it or to sell it out.
So when Roma went for a walk to the lake, which is the main attraction of the house, he ended up in the same path as his father, trapped by Grigorieva.
8 ^ In what way is it possible to destroy the mermaid or Rusalka?
We already saw that willingly offering the mermaid what she wants -the beloved woman- only calms her for a while, and has as unpleasant consequence the madness of her partner. But Marina discovers that the power of the creature is in her hair, a symbol of her beauty and femininity. Without these attributes she returns to her human origins, being another ordinary creature, the unhappy one a man left behind.
Now, the Rusalka was left without power, does it mean that she is dead? Probably not, she is dead long time ago, and now she is a ghostly monster, so there’s no way to kill her, just maybe to render her powerless, which no she is. She might be around, but with no power to be seen or to hurt anyone else.
9 ^ What does the end of the movie mean? What is the message of the movie?
At the end of the film we see how Roma and Marina escape, finally, from the summer house and apparently also from the Rusalka. This ending does not mean anything, except that the director did not even have his characters well built.
The message of the film, on the other hand, does exist and is the opposite of the old saying «Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth» The film tries to be based on the opposite idea, that no, if they give you a horse, you have to look at it well, and not only in the mouth, but to lock it up in quarantine, find a veterinarian to look up every single cell of the animal. There is no need to risk to a bubonic plague, horse anthrax or something like that.
10 ^ Is it a good or a bad movie?
Well, the film has two positive points: 1) it is based on a good premise and 2) the international feeling printed by the director is noted, as well as the intention to make known a Russian legend unknown in this hemisphere.
But its negative points are much more numerous. To begin, the premise is forgotten as soon as it is proposed, nobody mentions the fact that one must be careful when accepting gifts.
Then we have the fact that the film is badly written with leftover scenes, too many twists and too many turns in the intention of the characters, which in themselves were very uninteresting. And all this, framed in scenes that stand out but by the cliché. Could you expect anything else from Russia?