The Lure mashes up folklore, vampiric mermaids, ‘80s hair and body horror to create a bewitching and surprisingly touching musical tragedy. The title couldn’t be more fitting; despite the characters’ unfeasibly blithe acceptance of the mermaids in their midst, The Lure does sink its hook into you.
The animated opening has a medieval style about it that is at odds with the campy monstrosity of the nightclub setting, but nevertheless The Lure is a wildly unlikely success. Bolesto manages to extend what sounds like a mental proposition for a music video into a full feature without spreading the narrative too thin. The song lyrics though, if the translation from Polish is anything to go by, are absolutely dreadful.
The plot continually and joyfully redefines mad with its several twists and turns, but the Chinese-box style misdirection does become a little grating. The continual development of The Lure’s peculiar mermaid mythology is intricately integrated with the plot in such a way that the narrative mostly avoids becoming predictable.
Alongside the neon, hairspray and bloody gore, The Lure also incorporates a cautionary tale (or tail…) in the form of an ex-merman living ashore. This elevates what could have been merely a bizarre comic romp into a tragic saga, albeit one with tongue firmly in cheek.
Seamless special effects and fearless performances, particularly from leads Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska, are crucial to The Lure’s capacity for delightful surprise. No wonder it was released on Christmas day in Poland. A rare treat.
Perhaps it’s time for The Rocky Horror Picture Show to move over. Though certainly not for the fainthearted, this is a true original with all the trappings of a cult classic and the potential to be a very fun repertory show, costumes and all.
CAST: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka
DIRECTOR: Agnieszka Smoczynska
WRITER: Robert Bolesto
SYNOPSIS: A pair of mermaid sisters leave the sea behind and begin working with a house band in a nightclub near the shore.