Twilight meets Little Mermaid meets LaLa Land: some ideas should definitely remain on paper. It's not the surrel and awkward plot, it's how little Smoczynska does with all the genres. Frankenstein cinema done poorly - but trying at the same time to be cool and innovating. I get why this fooled younger audiences: it's a visual trip for sure, but the trip takes us nowhere.
A visually sumptuous musical with lavish, if too many, song-and-dance numbers, making the traditional narrative thin, only containing depth in the songs' lyrics for characterization, dramatic layers, and a deeper meaning: the mermaids are lured by humankind's 'siren song', akin to the humans by theirs. This does make the actual drama feel like it's playing out under glass, but its aesthetic and oddity are enticing.
Smoczynska's feature debut impresses with its original mix of the macabre, movie musical, superstition and midnight movie bizarreness. The film is often entertaining but also has a confrontational element that makes the viewer ill-at-ease quite often. Visually arresting throughout. A cult film begging discovery.
While it is undeniably flawed in places, this Polish-mermaid-horror-musical hooked me from its opening moments, and kept me absolutely enthralled. In keeping with a filmed musical, the story and its characters embrace the fantastic as real - there is a grotesquerie in this beauty, some true magic beyond the gaudy neon artifice and arid city streets. We could all use some of that. I'd watch it again in a heartbeat.
A film with few parallels to draw from. An entertaining, mystifying, confusing and horrifying concoction. It's definitely the best horror mermaid musical I've ever seen, likely because it's the only one I've ever seen. Definitely watch it if you have the opportunity. There's never a dull moment.