I had really low expectations for She Creature when it was on Sci Fi not too long ago. The name's totally cheesy for one thing and, well, it was the Sci Fi Channel. But it had Rufus Sewell and Carla Gugino in it, so how bad could it be? Both of them can act, and if nothing else, Sewell would be impossibly cool while Gugino would be incredibly hot. Kinda like a McDLT.
And they do both do a great job in She Creature and, surprisingly, so does everyone else. Especially Aubrey Morris as a retired sea captain who introduces Sewell and Gugino to his captured mermaid.
The story starts off awesome. Sewell and Gugino play a couple named Angus and Lily who run a carnival in Ireland. Lily's act is to dress up like a mermaid and that brings in the old sea captain who thinks that maybe they've captured the real thing. If they have, he wants to warn them about what they've got, but he realizes that they don't. He's a little eccentric and rambling, so thinking he's not entirely capable of getting himself home, Angus and Lily drive him back in their carriage (it's set early in the 20th century) to his totally awesome seaside mansion that looks like it came right out of a Scooby Doo episode.
The captain feeds them dinner and tells them all about mermaids and how dangerous they really are. When Lily - mostly to be nice - says that she believes him, the old man shows them a tank in which he's chained a real mermaid. Angus offers to buy it, but the captain refuses, so Angus comes back later that night with some men to steal it.
They put it on a ship set for America where Angus hopes to join the Ringling Bros. circus. The rest of the action takes place on the boat and it's mostly great stuff. The mermaid starts to get into Lily's head and people start disappearing on the boat. It's mysterious and thrilling and you don't even mind much that the mermaid's tail is obviously made out of rubber. The rest of her is as beautiful and creepy as a mermaid should be.
Unfortunately, the third act becomes a completely different movie. The mystery and slow-burning horror disappears to be replaced by a crappy monster flick with the mermaid "running" around the ship killing everyone Alien-style. Up until that point, I was ready to give the movie four out of five whatevers, but the end absolutely destroys all the good that had come before. I loved the first two thirds too much to hate the entire movie, but I still can only give it...
Two out of three seaside mansions.