Please Stop Calling The Lure 'La La Land With Man-Eating Mermaids'


The oft-cited logline just doesn't do the macabre musical justice

“This meets that” is the most popular pitching format in Hollywood.  It’s a time-honored and fair practice to pitch any new film project as "X meets Y" or "X with Y." Silicon Valley even followed suit with with calling everything with an algorithm "Pandora for X" right up until every new startup became "Tinder for X." 

These portmanteau-like pitches can be shrill but effective—Rudy is "Rocky for college football," The King’s Speech is “Rudy with Royals!” and The Emoji Movie is “Inside Out meets sexting!”—but can be entirely disheartening.

And so it is with The Lure, a neon-lit fever dream of a film from Poland about murderous mermaids that has swept ashore in the US after making a name for itself on the festival circuit from New Zealand to Sundance and makes its US theatrical debut next month in New York.

The musical from first-time director Agnieszka Smoczynska is hard to pin down. It centers on the sirenesque exploits of two mermaids who join a band in 1980s Warsaw and sing against a backdrop of strippers and excess and one of whom has a half-cannibal hunger, and… you just have to see it. 

Heretofore, the US media has had only the trailers and clips in Polish with no subtitles to help them to find their way. When the English-language (and not incidentally laurel-bedecked) trailer hit, then that logline reared its head.

But to call The Lure “La La Land with man-eating mermaids” really doesn’t do either film justice. Both are searingly original efforts, that are about as different from one another as The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is from The Little Mermaid. x

Watch the English-language subtitled trailer below.