SiREN is the feature length version of the ‘Amateur Night’ short from V/H/S; arguably the best short from the film. Director Greg Bishop helms the project with David Bruckner (the short’s original director) is on as writer. Bishop’s adaptation features a solid mix of horror, fantasy and some impressive special effects considering the low budget, short filming, and edit time.
The story set up is well worn ground in that its features a bachelor party of four dude bros who are out for a wild night before the main character Jonah gets tied down. This is where the story takes it’s own form, obviously things go from wild to worse when the party becomes a fight for survival when Jonah stupidly sets free an imprisoned demon.
The films first 10 minutes try to add some backstory but it just ends up feeling a bit confusing. It opens in a church where a bunch of cult members have been slaughtered presumably trying to summon a demon which backfired. In walks some kind of modern day shaman dressed as a cowboy named Mr Nyx, who speaks a few calm words to the predator and then ends up equipping her with a shackle. From here we are introduced to Jonah and his three friends, all of whom have very distinct yet cliche character traits; The reluctant hero, the nice guy and the brooding rebel.
The bachelor party starts in a down-trodden strip club with the four friends wanting to have a good time, they are soon extended an invite to an exclusive club across the other side of town which happens to be run by the cowboy shaman from the start. What happens from here is a gory thrill ride which is much better than it deserves to be. As with any low budget horror film it does fall into some of traps you would expect; the damsel in distress, the stupidity of the characters and awkward running sequences. Despite that SiREN is a well crafted horror film which strays just enough from it’s source material to make it feel original and fresh.
Let’s talk about the titular monster, the Siren. Hannah Fierman reprises her role from V/H/S as the shy, odd and quirky girl with a killer attraction. The effects of the beast are second to none and there’s a real sympathy felt towards the character after her incarceration at the hand of Mr Nyx. We don’t get a lot of back story on where she came from or what she actually is and sometimes falls into the background of the story even though the film is meant to be about her. Regardless, Hannah’s scenes are brutal, visceral and bloody scenes, all culminating in a claret filled finale in the church from the start of the film. After everything has died down and the film comes to a close we are treated to a small bit of closure in the end and you actually get a feeling that everything was resolved and things are in there right place.
Overall SiREN was a lot better than I was expecting, there is a fantastic drug trip scene in which the characters eat mushroom, the director uses this opportunity to apply an impressive use of colour during the trip. I’m a huge fan of all the V/H/S films and would love to see feature length films from a majority of the shorts. Could this be a start of something new? There are a whole lot of universes to explore and expand upon and Siren is a great start to that. Definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the horror genre or creature features. Get involved.