Grimm indeed is this modern tale of a mermaid in Jeffrey Grellman and Kelly Lauren Baker’s Mermaid Down. Two aging fishermen are on board their boat discussing the legend of these so-called mythical creatures, known as mermaids. The older fisherman knows how to catch them and warns they are tricky. If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up dead. The only way to properly subdue a mermaid is to cut off their tail…right at the torso.
That’s precisely what the pair does, they catch a mermaid (Alexandra Bokova), but during the struggle, the cunning creature tangles the younger fisherman in his ropes and launches him overboard. The older one shoots his partner by mistake with his shotgun. Determined, he subdues the mermaid and cuts off her tale. While this is going on, a mysterious man named Dr. Beyer (Burt Culver) is out yachting on the ocean, sees the commotion on the fishing boat, and swims over to investigate. He murders the captain and takes possession of the mermaid.
“The doctor is keeping her in the facility, thinking the [Mermaid] will fit in with the other patients.”
Weeks later, we cut to the Beyer Psychiatric Facility for Women (run by Dr. Beyer), and about a dozen women gathered in the living room for movie night. Each patient has her own problems, but some are not problems at all. One woman, June (Caroline Dunaway), claims to see ghosts, and she really does as the house has a Ghost (Meggan Kaiser).
Ghost warns June of a strange presence in the bathroom. That presence is, in fact, Mermaid, who has grown human legs and only communicates through high-pitch squeals. The doctor is keeping her in the facility, thinking the somewhat mute stranger will fit in with the other patients. The Mermaid is under constant surveillance by the doctor until he understands what she is and figures out how to exploit her.