The latest release from Janus Films, Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s debut feature, The Lure, opens today at New York’s IFC Center. In this spectacular horror-musical hybrid, two carnivorous mermaid sisters are enticed into a lurid life on land in a boldly reimagined 1980s Poland, where they find fame as nightclub singers. The film’s eye-popping visuals and genre-defying sensibility have already garnered acclaim in these glowing reviews:
- In the Village Voice, Odie Henderson writes that, “regardless of its era, The Lure has pointed things to say about women’s bodies, hearts, and minds—and society's perception and perversion of each . . . it’s sexy, fearless, fun, and unrepentantly nasty.”
- The New York Times’s A.O. Scott describes the film as “an exploration—always intriguing if not always coherent—of the myths and puzzles of female sexuality.”
- Over at the New York Review of Books, J. Hoberman calls the film “the strangest release of the young year.”
- Kristy Puchko at Pajiba praises the film’s “sheer strangeness. One moment it feels like you’ve wandered into a vibrant sixties musical like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The next, we’ve tripped down a dark alley into a Cronenberg nightmare of blood, flesh and fury. Then we surface into a club, slick with slime, sex, and god knows what else, where two strange sisters spin and shriek in a glam-punk seduction that’d have made David Bowie smile. The journey will leave you dizzy, rattled, and breathless.”
- For Paste, Jacob Oller examines how the film “resurrects prototypical fairy tale romance and fantasy without any of the false notes associated with Hollywood’s ‘gritty’ reboot culture.”
- “Smoczyńska concocts a refreshingly leftfield cinematic world that echoes the parallel universes of Yorgos Lanthimos’s films,” writes Diego Semerene for Slant. The film “isn't just a luscious sci-fi mindfuck, but a musical unafraid of its own ridiculousness, with knowingly cheesy lyrics and dance numbers.
- In the Daily Beast, Nick Shager calls the film a “sterling whatsit of a debut, heralding an arresting new voice in international cinema and reconfirming the enduring vitality (and malleability) of the movie musical.”
- The Lure “is remarkable not just for its zaniness but for its willingness to let girls be girls,” writes Karen Han in Cut Print Film.