Mermaid musical-horror is truly a one-of-a-kind experience
I've been a movie critic for more than 15 years now. If there's one thing I've grown to appreciate, it's when a movie ends and I can say, “Well, I've never seen anything like that before.”
“The Lure” is one of those movies, which tends to happen when you're watching a Polish horror-comedy about nightclub-singing, sexy mermaid sisters.
It is, in a word, bonkers, but it's the kind of stylish and delightful bonkers that makes you revel in its excess, and I'll take as many movies like this as we can get. (In this case, we get just two 7 p.m. screenings, Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29, at the Wexner Center for the Arts.)
Sisters Srebrna (Marta Mazurek) and Zlota (Michalina Olszanska) are discovered by a family connected to an underground Warsaw nightclub. Soon they become part of the featured entertainment, complete with sultry singing, sexy dancing and a finale that sees them transform into literal mermaids.
The patrons of the establishment can't get enough of them, as apparently no one bats an eye at onstage mermaids in this club.
But when Srebna starts a romance with a handsome bass player (Jakub Gierszal), her special bond with her sister is threatened. Oh, and her sister has some desires of her own, but they tend to make things, well, bloody.
First-time director Agnieszka Smoczynska, working from an obviously wildly original screenplay by Robert Bolesto, mashes together genres with great abandon. If you're in the overlap of what she's playing with — which admittedly won't be close to everyone — “The Lure” is must-see. Hell, it may be even if this isn't your thing. When else are you going to see something like this?
What starts off like an unnerving fairy tale swerves into moments of musical celebration, and the subtitled translations of the song lyrics are their own joy. In a world this weird, bursting into song feels more appropriate than it does in, say, “Les Miserables.”
But horror fans should also take note, as things get bloody and grotesque with tongue in cheek and no fear to go over-the-top. There's also plenty of underlying metaphor about female sexuality and other topics. If the plot isn't tidy, it should still manage to keep you intrigued.
Added bonus is the Wex screenings will feature the local premiere of Columbus filmmaker Mike Olenick's latest short film, “The Cure.” Knowing Olenick's work, it's a pretty great fit.