Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Lure

Mermaid sisters Golden and Silver decide to join human society in the 1980's, using a seedy nightclub as their gateway. They start off as strippers and backup vocals until the crowd is so ravenous for their performances and transformations that they become the main event. The mermaids have a good time at first making new friends and experience all the human world has to offer, but their desires start to diverge. Golden's hunger for human flesh grows while Silver falls hopelessly in love with guitarist Mietek.

The Lure is a unique film that merges a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid with an 80's setting and a musical. These mermaids aren't like Disney creations. Their tails are impossibly long and powerful and their teeth are razor sharp. They lure humans with their beautiful voices, which seem to have a magical element that compels their prey, in order to eat their throats and hearts. The difference compared to to most lore is in their ability to appear human with legs, but with no sex organs. Too long without water makes them weak and sick, but they adapt comfortably to living on land. After so many years of boring mermaids, these ones are a refreshing change.

The mermaids are one hand beautiful, impressionable teenage girls and on the other hand inhuman monsters. Golden and Silver are exploited as sex workers by the band and the nightclub management despite the acknowledgement of their young age. They don't seem to mind as they earn their keep and receive the increasing adoration of a growing group of fans. Through their experiences, they are torn in different directions. Golden embraces her true nature by eating people and seeking creative outlets with other groups where she can write her own lyrics and sing with others of her own kind. She also has love affairs with humans, but it seems more like experimentation and fun rather than anything lasting.

Silver, on the other hand, is the more innocent and emotional one. She tries to deny her true nature because of Mietek, who makes it clear that he likes her but will always view her as an animal. Her voice seems to make him forget it for a while as they build a romantic relationship that stops short of sex because of her mermaid body. She opts to surgically trade lower bodies (from just above the navel down) with a human woman in a delightfully surreal scene. Afterwards, she's a shade of herself as her voice is completely gone and her body is weak from the surgery. Mietek deigns to have sex with her, but recoils, disgusted when she bleeds on him. Her humanity repels him just as much as her inhumanity and he quickly rebounds with a beautiful singer. Through all of this, Golden supports her sister even if she doesn't agree with her decisions, which was an especially beautiful aspect of the film.

Some aspects of the film fell flat for me. Most of the songs were good, but either the translations of the lyrics were bad or the lyrics are just bad in some of them. Other aspects of the film are scattered and don't make sense. For instance, the band was pretty clearly dead in their aparment and then suddenly come to life with some drugs in their system. The drummer punches out the mermaids and then dumps their bodies in the ocean as if they are dead. Golden and Silver return with a minimum of vengeance and still perform and live with them. A few random events like this don't add anything to the story and serve to make the plot more convoluted than it needs to be. Also, all of the human men are terrible, either being physically or mentally abusive and using women for their own ends. I wish these characters had more nuance, but I get that the focus was on the mermaids and their journey.

The Lure is definitely an experience. It's much different than any other film I've seen this year. The plot meandered a lot before it got to anything resembling The Little Mermaid and then the fairy tale ended up being the main story. It's definitely more good than bad, but the messiness takes away from the unique tale.

My rating: 2.5/5

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