Indie Film: “Little Mermaid” as a horror short


Having spent roughly a decade helping select films for various fests, it’s worth noting that some of the best shorts I’ve ever screened were film school projects (some of the worst too, but I’ll save that for another time.) The Little Mermaid is directed by Nicholas Humphries, a student of the Vancouver Film School, and the amount of beauty, atmosphere, and storytelling this movie packs into a mere 7 minutes is really amazing.

The Little Mermaid bears little resemblance to anything Hans Christian Anderson wrote and it’s definitely not for kids. Here, the mermaid is the main attraction in a small traveling sideshow where she is held captive by a cruel and greedy ringmaster. There is only a single word of dialog – everything is expressed visually through body movements and facial expressions.

The set, lighting, and especially the make-up are all exceptional, and the acting by Trevor Gemma and Jovanna Huguet is practically flawless. There is a brief scene of violence (involving a fish) that is handled entirely off-screen with sound effects, and it’s the only part that falls short. The way the camera cuts away and back (with the mermaid in exactly the same pose) kind of trips up the flow, but it’s a small complaint for what is an otherwise beautiful film.

I should add that The Little Mermaid, which premiered a few months ago at Screamfest LA, is very reminiscent of another amazing short film, Eel Girl (directed by Paul Campion) which won Best Short at my own festival (Dark Carnival Film Fest) back in 2009.  You can see them both in their entirety below. (The Little Mermaid is courtesy of

Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆ 

Eel Girl from Paul Campion on Vimeo.


About Dave_P

Dave_P studied fine arts and film history and is a graphic and web designer, and a diehard movie fan. David has been involved with a variety film festivals including the Cinephile Film Festival, the PRIDE Film festival, and the Manhattan Short Film festival, and is currently the director of the Dark Carnival Film Fest in Bloomington, Indiana. (

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