IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/
Starring: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis, many others.
Review In A Nutshell: “The Little Mermaid” meets “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with a dash of “Mamula” thrown in. It’s 92 minutes of running time, about ten of which are the opening title sequences, making sure you know that the movie was funded by numerous grants from the Polish government.
So as you know, I have a thing for monster mermaid films. Like, I love monster movies (I just gleefully watched Rutger Hauer in Split Second yesterday, only to spend another two hours geeking about it with Best Friend Number Two), and I think cryptids are great, so Mermaid Monster Movies? SCORE.
After watching Mamula/Killer Mermaid back in 2015, I really didn’t think I’d ever be able to find something as good, or as steeped in its own lore, as that. I honestly didn’t. The Serbian Madmen who made Mamula did a great job. I really thought that would be a sort of apex – the sharp dorsal fin sticking up out of the water, as it were – of Mermaid Monster movies.
Boy was I wrong.
I can’t really say that The Lure (Original Title: Córki dancingu, which apparently means “Daughter’s Daughter” in Polish?) is bad, because it’s not bad. It’s actually really good, in that sort of “why is Eastern Europe so obsessed with Disco and late-90’s American Metal?” kind of way. The film is a musical, let’s get that out of the way right now. But it’s not a cheesy musical with lots of weird, pop versions of “Scotty Doesn’t Know” or the like. The songs are almost all integral to the plot, serving to move the action or change a scene effectively.
Usually involving nude breasts.
The movie appears to live on breasts. Almost (but not always) those of the two main characters, Golden and Silver, the mermaid sisters who are brought in to the world of Warsaw’s nightclub musical scene after attempting to draw the father and son of a family musical trio down into the water one night while partying on the beach at the riverside. The menfolk survive (because the mother screams and breaks them out of it), and the girls are somehow instantaneously adopted by the family and brought in to their musical group as part of the business. Eventually, Golden and Silver are made part of the act, including revealing their supernatural natures, where they sing backup, strip, and show their tails by splashing around in enormous burlesque champagne glasses. The people of Warsaw, particularly the club owner, seem to take all these strange things in stride, and in a few blink-and-you’ll miss it scenes, it’s revealed that there are other monster-types roaming around Warsaw, including a Troll (maybe?) who’s had his horns docked, his heavy metal monster band (!!!) and a human cop who is watching Golden (whom she suspects is a repeat murderer preying on drunk men down by the river).
The film goes in to some interesting Nature Vs Nurture arguments, walks firmly through an examination of familial dysfunction, and the nature of youthful sexual infatuation and the desire to become someone you aren’t vs the need to become someone you can be. It’s surprisingly deep (and a little surreal) for a film about a couple of late-teen mermaids who are supposedly only making a lunch break in Poland on their way to America.
Fair warning: other than the blood, of which there is a good amount, there’s also a prolonged surrealistic scene involving surgical procedures. If body horror’s not your thing, you might want to squint or hide behind the couch for this one.
I give it five out of five remoras.
Where I Found It: Netflix DVD, which is apparently where you get all your Eastern European Monster Films, these days.
How Much I Paid For It: My innocence, my ability to believe in happy endings, and my belief that someone could make a movie that didn’t end up with the male romantic lead being a douche.
Points Of Interest: As strange as it sounds, a musical quasi-horror monster film apparently can be played seriously, as this film shows.
The Money Shot: I guess you could call it a Mermaid Oedipal Complex? I’m not sure.