The Lure

Carnivorous mermaids in Poland do weird stuff sometimes.

There’s always a cultural barrier with foreign films, especially in unfamiliar languages, but nothing screams “inside baseball” quite like this phrase in the synopsis of Agnieszka Smoczyńska Polish horror-musical The Lure: “a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters are drawn ashore in an alternate ’80s Poland.” It goes on to describe the setting as a “half-glam, half-decrepit fantasy world of Smoczyńska’s imagining,” giving further warning to those who might otherwise expect a horror-musical about carnivorous mermaids to double as a neo-realist portrait of Raczyński-era Poland.

The sisters in question are the predictably nubile Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Gold (Michalina Olszanska), who can switch between aquatic and bipedal modes — although their lack of genitalia in the latter is a major plot point. They become the toast of alternate-Poland’s nightlife after joining the act of fading cabaret star Wokalistka (Kinga Preis), though complications arise when Silver falls in love with fish-averse towhead Mietek (Jakub Gierszal), while Gold chooses to follow her carnivorous instincts. A picture as gleefully sleazy as The Lure should be a lot more fun than it actually is, but it’s safe bet that the Polish equivalent of “and then the sisters lez out” was in the original pitch — and that’s more than enough for some viewers, no matter their country of origin.

The Lure
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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