The Lure is a twist on the Little Mermaid, with all the agency Hans Christian Andersen and Disney couldn’t give its protagonists. Here, two mermaids take a “vacation” onshore and end up working in a nightclub. There are a variety of musical numbers that covers a diverse blend of tunes including a pop ensemble piece in a department store, a disco debut, and a nu-metal duet with Triton.
All the while, the movie lets the girls be girls against a fittingly murky backdrop that gives you the impression that you’re watching the movie through an algae-ridden aquarium. Production design, creature effects, and sound design create detailed worldbuilding that even though it’s not clear exactly when and where the story took place, it still looks distinctive.
The characters are too, with Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska turning in enigmatic, subtly menacing and endearing performances that when the mermaids communicate The Lure becomes alluring. The humans provide a mix of people whose interactions with the sisters provide interesting social commentary. It’s no coincidence that the mermaids in human form don’t have a vaginal orifice, which is located at the bottom of their tail when they’re not.
Besides the fantasy elements of the movie, screenwriter Robert Bolesto deftly mixes in horror and romance for a musical mash-up that’s unique enough to create a classic, interestingly by loosely adopting another one.
It’s no doubt that Agnieszka Smoczynska set out to create a surreal movie with a fatalistic charm and didn’t hold back. However, this comes at the expense of storytelling that The Lure often gets lost in its own strangeness, with a thin meandering story and revolving door of supporting characters.
Nonetheless, if you’re willing to be led astray and see interesting visuals, The Lure is a bold genre-bending captivating musical that has something to say. Underneath its kooky creature feature story is a tale about how female bodies are perceived, perverted, and pressured into conformity.
The Lure is a bold kooky subversive musical with creative worldbuilding, great performances, and original song numbers to captivate you.