Four friends come across a mysterious human-creature hybrid in this popcorn flick from director Christine Chen.
Wendy is heading to the river, a place she went to as a kid, to reunite with three of her best friends. They are Ari, Fay, and Violet. She is really excited to see them but is stunned to learn that the river itself has been shut down by Rhett Lafitte, who is the running the campsite for his father and stepmother, the latter he can’t stand. The reason behind the shutdown was that a body was dragged and never found in the river.
When they get harassed by some of the male locals, they find themselves saved by Erzulie, a water goddess who offers them any wish in exchange for her protection. Wendy believes men should face justice for their misgivings and while Violet agrees with the notion, Fay believes it doesn’t have to go down as planned. Despite the fact that she was once in an abusive relationship. However, when Rhett learns of Erzulie’s existence, he plans to exploit her at any cost.
Co-writer and director Christine Chen came up with a great idea. She took her lifelong passion of mermaids and looked into the legend of a Haitian voodoo goddess and merged the two and added elements and visuals inspired from some legendary filmmakers to come up with a reunion gone wrong. The film can be said to be a “female revenge” flick as well, but is far from a feminist film. Instead, it’s a fun popcorn film about a mermaid goddess who helps four protagonists while they protect her, some more than others.
Kudos has to go out to Leila Anastasia Scott as the titular Erzulie. She not only acts great in the film, but even did her own research for the role, which only makes her role elevated. With the special effects, she has a look similar to Geretta Geretta in Lamberto Bava’s Demons and is reminiscent of the Djinn in Wishmaster as she is willing to help the four friends in exchange for them being able to protect her.
The four friends are a diverse cast of characters with Courtney Olivier’s Wendy being the “ringleader” of the group. However, she feels Erzulie should help her make men pay for their mistakes while Zoe Graham’s Fay, who ironically left an abusive relationship, does not believe in the extreme. There are shades of an LGBTQ+ romance between two of the friends until Fay learns the truth about her partner. Then there’s Jason Fitzpatrick’s Rhett LaFitte, who has nefarious purposes upon learning of Erzulie’s presence and even quotes a variation of a classic line from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
Erzulie is an enjoyable popcorn film that has killer mermaids, four friends in the vein of The Craft (minus the witchcraft), stereotypical redneck villains, and all-around fun with a twist ending that opens up the potential for a sequel. Definitely worth watching!
WFG RATING: B+
Kamikaze Dogfight presents a Moth to Flame production in association with the Wild Heart Productions. Director: Christine Chen. Producers: Christine Chen and Payten Brewer. Writers: Christine Chen and Camille Gladney. Cinematography: Joel Froome. Editing: Christine Chen and J.C. Doler.
Cast: Courtney Olivier, Zoe Graham, Elizabeth Trieu, Diane Rose, Leila Antoinette Scott, Jason Fitzpatrick, Alexander Biglane, Timeca M. Seretti.
The film will play from May 27 to June 2 at the Laemmle Theater in Glendale, California.