“Siren Phillips has lived her life thinking she’s an ordinary girl, in an ordinary town. On the eve of her twelfth birthday, however, she learns that she is destined to turn into a Mermaid at the age of twelve… To make matters worse, a group of Hunters are after her, trying to catch her. She soon becomes friends with Adam Wilts, a new boy at school, who she turns to for help… When Siren’s mother is taken, the town must rally behind her, and help her make a peaceful transition into the water, before the hunters can find out where she is“– Fromage Pictures, IMDB
Scales: A Mermaid Tale (also known as Scales: Mermaids are Real) was released in 2017 in a very limited theatrical run. The film is directed by Kevan Peterson, who’s previous works include 2013’s Wiener Dog Nationals, and 2015’s Wiener Dog Internationals. Morgan Fairchild, best known for her work on several prime time Soap Opera’s, has appeared in all of Kevan Peterson’s films to date, and appears in Scales as Principal Strauss. Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Adam Wilts, went on to play Eddie in 2017’s IT, and Freddie in the 2019 film Shazam.
On July 11th the official Facebook page announced that they are seeking funding for Scales 2.
Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below…)
I went into Scales pretty blind, the DVD popped up in one of my routine searches for new Princess movies and the trailer made it look like it had potential. I’m pretty sure it must’ve just shown up as a related movie to a listing I was looking at, as there are no actual princesses in this one. I’m including it in the blog because Scales is oh-so-very close to being the “Royalty Reveal” trope, namely one of those movies that reveal the main character is a Princess. Scales is basically a Princess movie in everything but name.
As we come to find out, Siren’s real mother is the mysterious leader of the Mermaids. We don’t ever find out what this leader role entails,but Siren’s mom is clearly highly respected among the other mermaids. It gives her a very Queen-ly vibe so it’s very easy to read Siren as a Princess. It’s to the point where I kinda wonder why they didn’t just make her a Princess. I assume they were maybe wanting to go with a more mature take, Princesses tend to appeal to a younger age group.
Most of the humour in this one comes from the general low-budget feel the film has. There was effort put into this one, but it still fails to convince me that it’s anything beyond a direct-to-dvd film (Colour me surprised to find out it had any sort of theatrical release). I find it extremely hard to nail down what it is about Scales that feels low-budget. It’s definitely not the bottom of the barrel quality wise, I’ve seen worse films by far. There’s just something about how Scales came together that makes it feel ‘off’, despite the efforts of the actors and crew.
There’s also a weird tone to Scales. I think the DVD cover gives you the wrong impression of the movie. It makes the movie seem like it’ll be aimed to younger kids, something a bit more cutesy and lighter in tone. Instead you’ve got the main character dealing with mermaid puberty, kids and women are threatened repeatedly by the mermaid hunters, and huge spoilers here, but at the very end of the film Siren literally makes a man explode with her magic mermaid powers. It comes completely out of nowhere, and after the deed is done no one bats an eye at how a 12 year old just killed a guy (I guess because he was a bad guy, no one cares?).
Honestly, the ending makes the film for me. There are admittedly some moments of dullness, but with an ending like that you’ll be leaving things off on a high note. I’m genuinely hopeful that they do get around to making Scales 2 (especially if there’s more bad-guy-explosions from Siren).