Andrew Hull and Geoffrey Gunn
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT:
A group of friends escaping the city for a weekend away have a simple plan, to tour the coast for a relaxing weekend. Things hit a snag when one of the friends spots a seductive, sultry young woman waving for help off the shore of one of many secluded islands along the coast. Reaching out to rescue her turns deadly and they risk everything to get off the island alive.
Before I start two things I need to say. First of all my sympathy to the family of Andrew Hull the director of Siren who passed away last year, this being his first feature film after stints as a Art Director on films like P2 and Get Over It! I have to be honest and say while Siren is not a genre classic, it does offer many glimpses of immense talent that will be solely missed in the film genre. The second thing I have to mention is for the younger readers who may need to know what the title “Siren” means:
Greek Mythology. One of a group of sea nymphs who by their sweet singing lured mariners to destruction on the rocks surrounding their island.
There you go, so you can guess which direction the film goes. I went into this blind not knowing nothing, even the title itself did not register in my mind and even the beginning shows a different path where we are introduced to Rachel (Skellern) in a sexy red dress hitchhiking for a passing car. Ken (Tudors star Eion Macken) pulls up, she gets in, they exchange glances, drive for a bit before pulling over for a bit of sex at a rest stop. Half way through it they hear a noise, Rachel stops and its revealed that they are an actual couple who are just living out a sexual fantasy and are on their way to a weekend away on a boat trip with an ex of Rachel. While they set off, Rachel and Ken decide to have sex again while Marco (Anthony Jabre) looks on jealous until he spots a young woman on a nearby island waving for help. Off he goes in search, the boat gets stuck, the three get off and they encounter the mysterious and sexy Silka (Tereza Sbrova). At first all is fine until one night around a camp fire she starts to sing, and that is when the terror starts
There is not much I can say about this horror. Not much happens until the last twenty minutes and I believe many will find it quite a bore and probably switch off way before the climax erupts, but there is something odd to it that made me watch to the end. The slow build does not really work like it should, simply because the characters are not that very likeable most notably Ken who virtually treats Rachel like a piece of meat with a not so romantic shag on top of the kitchen table that clearly shows why some men are only interested in pleasing themselves. With uninteresting characters, the film fails to hook the more casual horror fan who probably need a kill to keep them entertained, but Siren is more concerned about building the suspense and the intrigue. Its like a kind of Blair Witch but the ghost is there among them, talking and breathing.
With a lack of any action the film tries to use sex as its main weapon. If Rachel is not moaning by the simple touch of Ken, its the looks of jealous rage from Marco which is supposed to give the storyline that edge of a love triangle that never really works. Even the sex scenes are not really erotic and when Skila enters the mix, the hope is that the sexual energy can carry the film through its subtle period but when the love around is unconvincing and you the viewer can not feel the spark, then you can guess its going to be a struggle. Even a bit of girl on girl action failed to entice my slowly fading concentration
But like the overall theme of the film when the Siren sings there is something quite hypnotic about the whole show. I may have found myself tempted to switch the movie off but I did not simply because I needed to see how it plays out. While you can criticise the many flaws of the film, there is something quite refreshing about the whole thing especially when it relies on a story than an all out gore fest which is a rarity in horror these days. Its also nice to write that its a rare film that does not treat the audience like idiots where everything was spelt out for you. The horror is in the mind games this Siren plays and for a good while I was with these characters confused land bewildered and what was going on!
Siren is not a great film but shows enough to suggest that Hull was a man that could have offered more. This is a modern-era retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey which shows the grand ambtion for such a low budget movie. The film has some sinster moments that shines at times but the pace is off balance to really strike a chord and it really is a film that will divade many fans. You will either hate it love it but one thing everyone will agree on is how original the whole thing is in an age where torture movies are all the rage.