ERZULIE (2022) Reviews of swamp mermaid horror

  

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Erzulie is a 2022 American fantasy horror film in which four female friends on a reunion encounter a swamp mermaid goddess!

Directed and co-produced by Christine Chen from a screenplay co-written by Camille Gladney. Also produced by Candice Michele Barley and Payten Brewer.

The Moreland Productions movie stars Courtney Olivier, Diana Rose, Elizabeth Trieu, Zoe Graham, Leila Annastasia Scott and Jason Kirkpatrick.

Review:
Erzulie opens with a drunken spring breaker moron – whose idea of fun is to throw beer cans at his girlfriend’s head (!) – gratifyingly being murdered by something unseen lurking in a murky river. This being Louisiana, a gator is naturally blamed… but, of course, things aren’t that simple.

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Events then become largely languid for the next half-hour while we’re introduced to four female friends who are reconnecting at a rural retreat. We discover that each has an issue or problem they are trying to cope with such as PTSD or an abusive ex. The latter turns up all tantrum-filled and looking for trouble but not before the ladies have – rather unbelievably – summoned up the voodoo-based Erzulie, who manifests herself as a mermaid-like vengeful goddess.

After this somewhat slow start to proceedings, the tension soon mounts with murder, recriminations and the reveal of a toxic waste subplot involving the camp’s comedic villain, Rhett. The filmmakers amusingly juxtapose his ‘gone fishin’ sign with a shot of him ‘gone snortin’ cocaine from an exotic dancer’s cleavage or the brief sight of Erzulie’s mermaid-like tail flapping away in the background while Rhett is obliviously off-his-head in the foreground. Elsewhere, male-driven malevolence is deliberately – yet never preachily – contrasted with how the female friends manage to bond with each other during the increasingly tense situation brought on by Erzulie’s interventions.

Occasionally, as can be an issue in many low-budget movies, some outdoor night scenes are underlit. Yet there are many interiors nicely bathed in subtle neon colours and a rain-soaked scene that’s really well shot for a film made on a microbudget of just $271,157. Mostly, Nick Longoria’s almost ambient electro score is a pleasant enough aural accompaniment yet does nothing to amp up any suspense. Thankfully, during the aforementioned watery conflab, it soars to the occasion.

Despite a slackly paced opening third that needed another incident to create a growing urgency, Erzulie provides an impressive debut for Christine Chen and her crew with solid performances from all the cast and in particular the female leads.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
Ezrulie has a mixed message and one that it doesn’t seem to want to settle upon. On the one hand, it could have been a good opportunity to explore feminism and what it means to get everything you want like The Craft. However, it feels too bogged down by its need for a monster movie.” BRWC

Release:
In the US, Kamikaze Dogfight and Gravitas Ventures released Erzulie theatrically in New Orleans and Glendale prior to an On-Demand (VOD) release on June 14, 2022. Preorder via Amazon Prime

Cast and characters:
Zoe Graham … Fay Smalling
Jason Kirkpatrick … Rhett Lafitte
Elizabeth Trieu … Violet Burns
Alexander Biglane … James
Timeca M. Seretti … Mrs Lafitte
Isaiah LaBorde … Delmar
Leila Anastasia Scott … Erzulie
Diana Rose … Ari Paloverde
Eric Gibson … Dusty
Patrick A. Grover … Pierce
Courtney Oliviér … Wendy Woloft
Andrew P. Logan … Brock
Connor Benedict … First Beach Bum
Adam Rani … Second Beach Bum
Haley Raines … Allison

Technical details:
1 hour 26 minutes

Budget:
$271,157

Trailer:

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