If you’re someone who claims there’s no originality in horror movies, I’ve got one to run by you… How about a foreign film (Polish) that’s equal parts comedy, drama and horror, is a musical fairy tale, and is about mermaids (with a lesbian twist). The Lure (Corki dancingu) is nothing if not original and, as you can imagine, is also quite a mixed bag. The different elements don’t always work; however, the movie as a whole demands your attention.
The members of a three-person band are singing and dancing on the beach when two beautiful mermaids call for their assistance climbing onto land. Soon, they’re added to the show at the sleazy nightclub where the band has a regular gig. One of them, Silver (Marta Mazurek), falls in love with the guitarist, Mietik (Jakub Gierszal), which complicates not only their plans to swim to America, but also their very survival.
These probably aren’t the kind of mermaids to which you’ve grown accustomed. First of all, in human form, they have no genitalia; they’re smooth as Barbie dolls. When they get wet, their tales are more giant serpent-like than Disney-Ariel-like. They’re able to have sex through a small slit near the bottom of their tails, even though a partner may be reluctant to stick anything in them because of the fishy smell. Yeah.
Screenwriter Robert Bolesto and Director Agnieszka Smoczynska create an elaborate mythology for this particular breed of mermaid. If Silver falls in love with a human who later marries someone else, she will turn into sea foam. That’s actually the good news, considering the bad news is that, in their agitated states, Silver and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) turn into vicious, razor-toothed vampire monsters.
If “reading a movie” is difficult, it’s even more so when there are songs. The words in the English subtitles rhyme, but the sounds don’t seem to match the same pattern or rhythm. If you can somehow focus on the music, it’s delightful. And that’s OK to do, because I’m not certain the songs advance the story like they do in a conventional musical. The technique works best when the band performs familiar 80’s cover songs.
That’s early in the movie when all of this feels fresh and new. Parts of it remind me strongly of Strictly Ballroom, Baz Luhrmann’s brilliant 1992 film debut. Where that movie remains consistent throughout and is a surprise during every minute, this one grows weary and can’t quite sustain the energy. Sadly, for a hybrid horror movie, I think the point it starts breaking down is when the blood and gore start flying.
The Lure opened in Poland in December, 2015, and played at a few film festivals in the United States last year but has no official U.S. release date. If you want something original, be on the lookout. If its unique blend of genres kind of intimidates you, wait to hear how others receive it. It currently sits at 6.3 out of 10 on IMDb with 633 votes. I’d also give it a 6.