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Friday, May 4, 2018

The Lure (2015) - Musical Horror Myth

The Lure (2015) - Loosely based on the Hans Christain Andersen story "The Little Mermaid" but with wonderful horror moments and songs! That story is where the mermaid falls in love with a human and wants to become a real girl. She trades her beautiful singing voice to get legs to be with her prince. When the prince then is betrothed to another for political reasons the little mermaid is lost, can not return to the sea and can not be with the man she loves. The mermaid's sister trades her hair for a knife that she must use to kill the prince before dawn on his wedding day, breaking the spell and allowing the little mermaid to return to the ocean. In that story like this the plan does not come out as expected. This film is a tale of two mermaid sisters, Golden (Michalina Olszanska) and Silver (Marta Mazurek) who join a trio of musicians and try to make a go of it in the human world. Silver falls in love with Mietek (Jakub Gierszal) a curly haired blonde bass player she hears singing on a beach. She and her sister sing in return to get Mietek and Perkusista (Andrzej Konopka), the bands drummer to call them from the ocean. This allows the women to transform into somewhat human form and join the band. The film follows the girls and band as Silver attempts to get Mietek to return her love. This includes Silver attempting to become more human for him and ultimately having to make a decision about the relationship that breaks the heart. Golden has her own path in the world of humans, she is not like her sister and sees humans not as love objects and more as food. Her navigating of the world has its own weirdness and twists that make her story the more interesting of the two.
  One great thing about this film is the world building. In this world the mermaids are just something that exists. So when the girls join the band the club manager ( Zygmunt Malanowicz) is shown the girls transformed so their long fish tails can be seen. He just accepts this and allows them to sing in his club. There is no disbelief, mermaids are there and the magic is mundane in this world. Already the world is one where clubs are for older people where they go to see bands do disco era covers and dance and drink. It is a fantasy and as such anything is possible. That magic includes siren like voices, and apparent pheromones that are toxic when humans withdraw from them. At least that is what I take from the scene where the band members get sick after the mermaids leave for a while.
  Another really winning point is the contrast between the mermaid sisters. Silver is the lighter haired sweet girl looking for love. Not that she gets what she wants, she works hard to try to seduce Meitek. He is pretty clear that he sees her as an animal and can't love her. There is a magic that the girls have that holds influence over the humans around them but it is not quite enough to give Silver the success she wants. That in turn drives her to more drastic measures to become human for Meitek. Golden sees Silver in her obsession and is not thrilled. At first it seems like jealousy, but as the story progresses it seems she sees the tragedy coming for her sister. Golden is in the film to contrast Silver in she recognizes that the mermaids are not meant for the human world. They are predators and although they can play the part for a while in the end their natural impulses must win out. She is experimenting with the human world but she is not part of it. Golden needs to feed and that in turn leads to a very strange interaction with a female cop who suspect her of eating a guy in a car, but then uses the information to have sex with golden in mermaid form. She is the dark half of the mermaid nature and all her warning can not save her sister from heading down the road to ruin. The message must be that being ad remembering what you are is the safe path while trying to become something you are not is dangerous.
  The musical aspect of this film was so strange that it ended up being completely magical. From the opening tune in the club with the groups lead singer Wokalistka Krysia (Kinga Preis) singing "I Feel Love" a Donna Summer song from 1977 to the more traditional singing their feelings and plot this element works. On a personal note I really dislike musicals, I mean I remember being exposed through film as a child to them. Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, The Music Man, I sang in choir doing Jesus Christ Superstar in middle school, and have seen plays as a young adult A Chorus Line and Rent. I don't really enjoy them too much with the possible exception of The Rocky Horror Picture Show but I can tell if the musical elements are working or not. In this film I don't think the music is a classic representation but I think it works within the world of the film. I don't imagine I would ever seek out a soundtrack for The Lure but it was okay in watching it.
  Enchanted by this film as a fantastical piece of art, I recognize it may just be not for everyone so use caution going into this that it does not fit into categories well. There are some really nice horror elements to the film that I wish were longer. The mermaids at feeding could have been more frightening but what is shown works. The exploration of sexuality (bestiality?) was interesting also but again it was limited to a couple scenes and could have been more. Still I come away from this film liking what it did and recommend a viewing to all of you. It is a strange journey but I think one that is rewarding.

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