Ah, mermaid horror, too weird to live too rare to die. The Lure is a loose adaptation of The Little Mermaid fairytale set in modern Poland. Two mermaid sisters venture on land to feast on man flesh are caught in the snaring gaze of a cute boy. He’s a lounge musician whose band needs new backup vocalists and as luck would have it, the mermaids possess siren’s calls. The sisters, named Golden and Silver, gradually get their ‘land-legs’ but Silver falls hard for the charming musician. It’s a classic fish-story, full of man-eating mermaids without genitals (like a Barbie doll or Metatron), beautiful cinematography and set design… oh and it’s a musical.
The Lure get’s a lot of points for weirdness. The creature effects are incredible and nearly all practical, making The Lure a real throwback to bygone days when Stan Winston and Rick Baker regularly wowed audiences. If you’re into that stuff this film is a must see. The girl’s tails are huge and as realistic as anyone could imagine mermaid tails would be. They’re slimy, scaly, alien and the furthest you could get from erotic. The Lure caught my attention with visuals and premise but the plot didn’t reel me in.
I didn’t enjoy The Lure as a musical either. Non-English musicals have a built-in hurdle for me, an English speaker, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to enjoy them. I remember loving Russia’s 2008 musical Stilyagi and recall the music completely rocking the language barrier apart. According to the special features on The Lure’s Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release, the film’s real-life twin sister composers inspired the premise. But that novelty doesn’t make the music any more enjoyable, it just makes me feel like I’m missing something.
I feel guilty for not liking The Lure. Like there’s something wrong with me, or maybe my opinion of Polish cinema will be forever soured because I didn’t enjoy my first taste. I’ll keep my mind open and you should to, like LeVar Burton always said “Don’t take my word for it.”