The angels were truly looking down on us this week when we were both able to find copies of this insane mermaid musical. I’m going to wade straight in because I literally cannot wait but honestly, a film about mermaids singing in a burlesque club and eating people? It’s got to be everything, right?
The Lure (2015)
In Warsaw, a pair of mermaid sisters are adopted into a cabaret. While one seeks love with humans the other hungers to dine on the human population of the city.
We open with our ethereal mer-princesses running (swimming) into the most annoying sub-genre of man, certainly in the Brighton & Hove area: the beach guitar guy.
Lured to the shore by their beautiful song, you hope the cannibalism will begin right here but for some reason it does not. Instead the ‘music’ saves these ‘rock stars’ and they take the girls back to the small but perfectly formed burlesque club in which they perform. The girls get jobs as backing singers/strippers and you might wonder how but, as in Hans’ version, the gals have legs when they’re on land. No genitals or butt holes though, for the record.
Anyway, this new and exciting lifestyle change, which is all glamour shots and musical numbers in malls, starts to take a darker turn when Silva (Mazurek) starts to bond with the band’s guitarist, Mietek (Jakub Gierszal). Think poor man’s Polish Evan Peters.
Her sister, Golden (Olszanska) can see it all coming and she’s not exactly stoked about whatever that is, though she doesn’t stand in Silva’s way. She’s got her own shit going on anyway, namely targeting strange men in the club and carelessly feeding on their flaccid flesh. She also periodically hangs out with the strangely hot Tryton (Marcin Kowalczyk).
Tryton, it seems, has had his own violent brush with humanity, having lost one of his horns to fishermen. He’s also a rock star but like a shit hot cool one and he wants Golden to join him on stage. There are musical numbers peppered throughout the film that, when translated into English, make zero sense but that just adds to the charm – and I very much like it.
Back to Silva’s new romance, which gets off to a rocky start when her beau tells her “you’ll always be an animal to me”, which is frankly rude. Despite this, Silva manages to get his attention and they look set to become love’s (next) young dream.
Shame then that Tryton starts warning Golden about what could happen to Silva if Evan Peters breaks her heart (you’ll follow if you know the story of The Little Mermaid) – AND then The Fuzz starts poking around the remains of a strange man found on the shore…
Putting two and two together (that the killings are of a ‘human or reptilian nature’), the burlesque band panic and try to get rid of the girls but that proves more difficult than expected. Silva all the while remains *heart eyes emoji* about Evan and decides that the only way to win his heart is to make the ultimate sacrifice (which is NASTY). Evan, the little shit still isn’t happy though because he’s male and so spectacularly mediocre himself.
In the last third we experience more heartache and the story very much follows that of TLM, which is fine as it’s one of the greatest stories ever told (the moral: don’t give everything you have to an ungrateful fuck of a man, even if he is a prince) but I wanted something extra, you know?
We find Silva healing from her questionable life choices (it’s like reallly nasty). Golden is worried and angry, the burlesque band are falling apart themselves – and Tryton keeps telling Silva that she can overturn ‘the curse’ if she stabs Evan to death, which must be of some comfort, surely?
But will she though? Will she stab the living shit out of the puny, good for nothing, anemic fuck boy that is Evan Peters? I think you might have an idea but here’s a clue: check it out for your own goddamn selves. It’s worth it, I promise.
Wow. The Lure does indeed have everything going for it and it works. It is a mess however, and could’ve afforded to go way darker, like more killings, girls honestly. How I also would have loved a more macabre take on the end of TLM (though justice is served), something more Riot Grrrl-y and explosive, perhaps?
The performances are great. The sisters are both gorgeous sea urchins who I bought completely as semi-alien to this world, while I got a real kick out of Krysia (Preis), their sort of madam at the club. I actually spent the whole time thinking she was their aunt for some reason.
The men are all disgusting and I think that’s the point, they’re there to be showcased in the most hideous light imaginable because really isn’t The Little Mermaid just about how women are expected to conform to completely unrealistic beauty ideals, at risk of seriously harming only themselves just to get the attentions of a sub-par male who prefers them mute and will fuck off with the next pretty thing that sashays by anyway? It’s all about female sacrifice with very little given up by the prince and while we’re at it, there’s not nearly enough girl power in it either. I’m angry typing this and I was angry with Evan for being such a limp dick. And yeah, the men = all gross. Except Tryton, but really he’s no prince himself.
I’m not angry at great cinema made by women though, never that. RAWRRRRRR.
4/5. Something stops it not being the best film of all time (I know, I was surprised too) but it’s still great. Fun and dark and bonkers.
What did my killer mermaid Jillian think of this one? I have a hunch she’d rather take it swimming than smash it against some rocks but you can find out here. 🦈🦑🐋