Throughout history, mermaids have appeared in legends and folklore in many cultures around the world. Often inspired by the sirens and naiads of Greek mythology, they usually manifest similar characteristics whilst reflecting the prevailing religions and superstitions of that society. In Eastern Europe, Rusalkas live in lakes and rivers. They are restless spirits of young women who have been violently murdered or committed suicide. These creatures form the basis of Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy’s new film, The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead.

When Roman (Efim Petrunin) was a child his mother drowned, leaving his father (Igor Khripunov) broken and institutionalised. Since then they’ve been estranged. As his wedding day to Marina (Viktoriya Agalakova) approaches, Roman returns to his boarded up old home by the lake. Whilst taking a dip, he meets a strange and intoxicating young woman (Sofia Shidlovskaya). They kiss. Riddled with guilt, he leaves, but soon falls prey to a strength-sapping illness. His best man (Nikita Elenev) and sister (Sesil Plezhe) team up with his fiancé to save him.

The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead is an atmospheric and stifling chiller which leans heavily on folklore and mystery to create a feeling of dread. This is mixed in with some decent jump-scares to create a horror which keep you on your toes. Whilst the story is strong enough to maintain interest. Whilst at times it feels slightly unfocused, The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead is an intriguing, creepy and claustrophobic slice of genre cinema.

The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead is released on DVD by 4Digital Media on 22 July.