Mermaids: The Body Found
was a 2012 Found Footage Mockumentary
by Animal Planet
about a Government Conspiracy
to hide their research into an underwater sonic weapon, and to hide the existence of mermaids, which would have ended the testing prematurely had their existence been revealed.
Was followed up by Mermaids: The New Evidence
in May 2013.
This film provides examples of:
- Cat Scare: The cell phone video near the end features the seemingly-dead mermaid sitting up and screeching at one of the kids checking its "corpse".
- Found Footage Films
- Government Conspiracy: For reasons beyond the main cast's knowledge, the U.S. Navy goes to great lengths to cover up the existence of merfolk. Possibly to continue the research into sonic weaponry, or possibly to continue tests on the merfolk themselves.
- Heroic Sacrifice: One of the mermaids leads a Megalodon away from the rest of its group by cutting itself to get its attention.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The film goes to great lengths to draw a contrast between the gentle merfolk who coexist peacefully with whales and dolphins, and the monstrous humans who will gladly tolerate the collateral deaths of unknown numbers of them in the name of weapons research, and will even go out of their way to cover up the very existence of mermaids so that they can continue said weapons research without worrying about potential human(?) rights violations.
- Megalodon: Appears in a short segment where some kill a whale and a merman.
- Jitter Cam: The footage from the kids' camera phone.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: The show carefully makes the evolution of hominids into aquatic creatures a plausible concept, using biological possibilities to pose an evolutionary "what if?" scenario, using the Aquatic Ape hypothesis.
- Artistic License - Biology: The explanation of how (and why) a tailless hominid re-evolves a tail in order to create the standard mermaid bodyplan never appears: one section shows a standard hominid bodyplan, the next is a mermaid. It's also noticeable that the head and face remain human(ish) and do not streamline.
- Mockumentary: Despite the creators saying that the film was made for entertainment (and the Conspicuous CG beach mermaid), many people believed that the portrayed events are real. The film however did little to make that apparent aside from a blink-and-you-miss it disclaimer during the credits.
- Stealth Mentor: Even more subtly than Lost Tapes. For examples, the documentary notes that Navy sonar tests have been directly implicated in whale beachings, and "The Bloop" is a real phenomenon, though no one knows what it is (although it's currently thought to be the sound of an "icequake").
- Super-Persistent Predator: While it doesn't go to crazy extremes to get food, the second megalodon chases after the pod of merfolk, completely ignoring a fresh whale kill in favor of some tiny hominids. This would be the equivalent of a human rejecting a chicken dinner and going out of its way for a few crackers.