FRIGHTFEST 2019: The Grump Of Horror Reviews ‘The Rusalka’

Review by: The Grump Of Horror

A visitor to a small community near a lake falls for a mysterious woman who he always sees in the water, while another seeks the monster that killed his husband…

Among the many things to like about this film, two of them are characters in this story. The main character, Tom is mute. Al who grieves for his husband is gay. But the film and crucially the characters never make a big deal of this. It’s dealt with early and then moves the story on.

In what is essentially a three-hander each character is very well written. Perry Blackshear with a very good script avoids the usual cliches. In a more typical take on a story like this, Al’s desire for revenge would have consumed him, but here he’s more haunted by his husband’s death. Nina, the Rusalka, desires human contact, but is cursed to stay in the lake and kill. When she falls for Tom, she is torn in two. As for Tom, brought up in a religious community, he finds himself opening up to new experiences, including love.

The trio of actors are first rate. MacLeod Andrews plays Al, Margaret Ying Drake plays Nina and Evan Dumouchel plays Tom and they really bring to life the complex nature of each character.

Blackshear also directs the film and brings his story to like brilliantly. He brings out the emotion in the Tom/Nina story, as well as the pain Al has over the death of his husband. He lets the story breathe, never needing to turn into a more traditional monster film. That doesn’t mean the film isn’t scary. Blackshear does create some very effective jump moments. He also avoids a cliched ending too, instead giving the film a melancholy one that is full of emotion.

There is little to dislike here. The Rusalka is a beautifully shot film, a film about love, loss, heartbreak. It is haunting, it is powerful and simply one of the best films you I will see this year. Sadly the film’s title is being changed to ‘The Siren’ which is a shame, personally.

Perry Blackshear calls his film a folk-tale, with love and horror.

I call it beautiful.

Rating: ***** out of 5

About Bill

Founder/Head Writer of The Horrorcist.

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