Mid-journey, however, and probably not surprisingly, the crew get more than they bargained for when the mermaid begins to display a knack for manipulation and reveals a much, much darker side.
Pulling much of the same stunt that Gregory Widen did in ‘95 with the first installment of the surprisingly resilient Angels-at-War series, The Prophecy, Gutierrez takes the elegant and romantic idea of the beautiful siren-like mermaid and turns the mythos on its water-logged head, producing a nightmare from a sugar-coated dream.
Produced as one of a five film series by the late greats Winston and Samuel Arkoff, SHE-CREATURE’s budget occasionally gets the better of it (are ALL mermaids tails THAT rubbery looking?) but a great deal of the film's success, and why it’s arguably the best of the series, is in large part thanks to Thomas Callaway’s seaweed-green-hued cinematography and Jerry Fleming’s rich (for TV, at least) production design. It’s a claustrophobic, dark ride wherein, when tensions begin to rise and things begin to skew, we feel there is no escape.
Englishman Sewell is obviously having a ball playing the skivvy Irish con-man and it’s the kind of part the underrated Gugino can do in her sleep, it even has a surprising cameo from Gil Bellows as a crew member.
Strangely haunting and surprisingly unsettling in parts, it’s a worthy diversion if there’s nothing on the box. Go in expecting SPLASH and you’ll be disappointed but it has its merits that justify its 85min running time.