It seems fitting that director Agnieszka Smoczynska has made a movie that mixes several genres at once and dedicate it to mermaids. The movie itself seems to be a mermaid’s description: musical, horror, comedy, erotica and fantasy.
The Lure is folklore and fairy tale from Poland, complete with the promise of idyllic beauty and death. You gotta have death. Golden and Silver are two such mermaids of lore, adopted by a nightclub band in which they enthusiastically sing, dance, strip and show their fins. Yet for all the apparent carefree drinking, smoking, sex and stripping, there is an innocence to this film. An innocence that breaks the moment that Silver falls in love with the young bass player.
What happens next involves a lot of disco music numbers, crazy lyrics and a love story that’s going to involve some heartbreak and a lot of gore. But don’t worry, before the movie ends they’ll have to face the music and dance. There’s small subtle details, like the fact that mermaids have a secret telepathic way to speak that sounds like dolphins. Because of course they do.
How does it fare? Pretty well, actually. The lyrics are over the top, the music is disco heaven or inferno depending on your taste but the characters are engaging and the story is solid. Or liquid, if you prefer. The lore is strongly crafted, and will not resemble any Disney-flavored story you’ve ever seen. I cared about these characters, and both Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska play the complex role of mermaids in such natural performance than when they react to something you can’t help but agree that’s the way a mermaid would react. Although a moment ago, you would have had not a clue of their nature. It’s also refreshing to see mermaids that kill, hunt and cloud the minds of men ashore to draw them in and eat them.
Break it down!
Highs: Everything. The more I remember how good this movie is, the better. Practical effects are really well done. I couldn’t see any CGI, not that I was looking for it. The mermaid lore speaks volumes of the world-building skills of the movie writers, producers and of course, director Agnieszka Smoczynska. Superb performances from Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska as the titular mermaids.
Lows: You have to take everything or nothing from this movie, so you can’t just ignore the comedy or try to forget it’s a horror film or skip the music numbers, otherwise you’re missing it. As such, some people might not bear it. It can be an acquired taste.
Highly recommended for movie aficionados looking to experiment something new, as well as fans of the fantastic and mermaids in general.
Coming next, but subject to change:
- Wednesday, July 20: Lights Out (USA).
- Thursday, July 21: Harmony (Japan).
- Friday, July 22: Embers (USA) / Seoul Station.
- Saturday, July 23: Psychonauts (Spain) / The Phantom Detective (South Korea) / Assassination Classroom: Graduation (Japan).
That will do for now.