PLOT: Two mysterious sirens - mermaid like creatures who lead men to their deaths - happen to join a cabaret. When one of the strange young women falls for a local musician, the two find themselves facing off against each other leading to a deadly sibling rivalry.
REVIEW: This has been a good year for horror. And as we head into December, I didn’t expect to find another ridiculously enjoyable genre flick. Thankfully, AFI Film Fest offered up something truly unique when it comes to thrills. THE LURE is an infectious mash-up of horror with a healthy heaping of musical. The Polish language feature film directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska is loaded with big musical numbers, and a couple of sirens - think evil mermaids - and will keep you smiling throughout. This impressively lavish feature offers up a couple of creepy images, and then suddenly transforms itself into a genre take on MURIEL’S WEDDING. Yes it’s weird, but in the most enjoyable of ways.
When we first meet Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska), they rise from the ocean depths singing a seductive tune. The two sing to a couple of drunks on the beach, both of whom easily succumb to the haunting beauty coming from the water. So yeah, these sirens can sing. And then things really get bizarre. The two girls are soon discovered and brought to work at a local cabaret. Once there, Silver falls for a young musician named Mietek (Jakub Gierszal) and seems to be losing her connection to her sister. Golden on the other hand, has no intention of leaving the murderous life of a siren behind. Will Silver find love? Or will the sisters finally come together and kill all the men in their path?
Let’s get this out there right now, THE LURE is an odd concoction to say the least. The very moment the girls show up with killer intentions, you know this is like nothing you’ve ever seen. As outrageous as it is, it also happens to be a gleefully entertaining bit that aims to please. Of course, if you aren’t a fan of musicals, there is a good chance you will be thoroughly annoyed. However, you have to appreciate the spectacle of each of the numbers. This is a big and bright film that is incredibly well shot. To be fair, the musical aspect of the feature is probably stronger than the horror, but it still is so damn entertaining that you’ll most likely enjoy yourself.
It isn't just the poppy musical numbers or the shimmering sets that they take place on, the look of both Golden and Silver is also quite impressive. The two are seen in both their mermaid form as well as their human form. They appear to be almost childlike goddesses. Once the two girls take the stage, along with the star of the cabaret, Wokalistka Krysia (Kinga Preis), audiences flip and the two girls begin to draw an impressive crowd. The fans oddly enough seem to be very aware that the girls can sprout long fishy tails, but nobody appears to be terribly concerned about it. Because hey, these girls can sing their little hearts out.
As lively as THE LURE may be, it can’t help but lose a little steam near the second half. As previously mentioned, the horror element is not quite as impressive as the more lighthearted tone of the music side. Occasionally we see a ripped out heart and a little blood, but it feels that they could have gone a little farther with the darker elements. Thanksfully it still managed to balance it all together for the most part. Even still, there is way too much to appreciate that the occasional slow spots won’t spoil any of the joy.
THE LURE is an original work that balances itself between infectious musical and gruesome creature feature. It may not always work when it comes to scares, but that doesn’t matter all that much. Both Mazurek and Olszanska are delightful as the man eating mystical sea creatures, and they put on a good show when it comes to singing and dancing. If you are looking for a pure and vibrantly cheerful good time at the movies, THE LURE is worth diving into.