Part body horror and part rock opera, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s “The Lure” is a chilling yet poignant representation of the mermaid/siren figure. The film is a twisted version of “The Little Mermaid” fairy tale that highlights the erotic and disturbing undertones of mermaid mythology.
Set in 1980s Poland, “The Lure” focuses on two mermaid sisters, Silver and Golden, who are just as alluring as they are deadly. The girls enter the human world and use their dulcet singing voices to perform sexy cabaret numbers. Their seductive song ends with them sitting topless as mermaids in a giant champagne glass. They are a beautiful, one-of-a-kind musical duo that the audience falls in love with.
Smoczynska makes the mermaids’ conflict between the human world and the ocean feel fresh and exciting. Silver’s obsessive crush on one of the band’s musicians leads to a terrifying sequence of bloody body horror where she has surgery to remove her tail and get human legs. The mermaids also use a silent, sonar-like method of communication that is subtitled.
Silver and Golden are some of the most scary mermaids ever seen on screen. They have sharp teeth that bite and chew chunks of flesh from men’s bodies. They devour these men with a famished glee, taking revenge on their cruel misogyny. Smoczynska’s “The Lure” is an audacious film that combines grisly violence and unsettling images with bright colors and glittery music numbers. It’s a truly unique viewing experience.