Its very hard to come up with a short horror story that is not only original, but manages to grab the reader/viewer by its small scope and then somehow stick in the memory long after they have finished the tale.
While I thought the anthology franchise horror V/H/S was more miss than hit, I did adore the “Amateur Night” segment that was directed by Southbound’s David Bruckner. The story of a one night stand going horrifically wrong was brutal and effective, with the words “I like you” lingering long after which eventually gave birth to a thousand memes like this one:
Out of all the stories in the three V/H/S entries, this was the one that everyone remembered and it came to no surprise to us at HCF that a feature film based on“Lilith” would be fast tracked. With Bruckner moving aside (but staying on writing duties) and the tale now in the hands of Gregg Bishop, how can he make a story told so brilliantly in such a short running time, work with a much bigger budget and with a need for more materiel? How can you expand on what has already been told?
That is the fundamental problem of Siren, that its haunted by its predecessor Amateur Night. Any surprises or shock plot developments are well gone, especially as the lead bad girl Lilith (played once more by the fantastic Hannah Fierman) is now herself a cult figure among the horror crowd. Those who haven’t seen the original may not suffer from this but I guess most of those who be rushing to either rent or buy the DVD are already fans of this new iconic figure.
That’s not to say that the whole film is a waste, in fact there is much to enjoy, just don’t go in expecting a horror fest in the same vein of its original, as by adding to the backstory of Lilith, we lose the mystique of the character and in some ways we also begin to feel sorry for her, which is always big No No when you trying to create sense of dread and terror.
A big well done though for moving the style away from the found footage angle that was used before. It makes a welcome change from the usual “Put the camera down” even though I have seen two of those horrors today for HCF which were surprisingly brilliant!
Siren starts by giving us details into how this woman came into this world in which we also introduced to the real bad guy of the film Nyx and extra kudos to Justin Welborn who seems to really enjoy the role as he hams up every scene he appears. The story then skips to the usual trait of a Bachelor party, Jonah (Chase Williamson) is a good man who would rather be with his fiance, but his more outspoken brother Mac (Michael Aaron Milligan) as other ideas and drags him and two others off for a dirty night on the town full of strippers and sex.
With his place of choice dire beyond words, Mac ignores every single horror film he probably watched in the 80’s and talks to a stranger by a bar who tells him of this dream party, in the middle of nowhere, which of course he and all the others go. Now if it was me and I was heading to this party and then discover its in a mansion in the middle of a forest, miles from a town, then I wouldn’t even get out of the car, but hey, that doesn’t make much of a horror film does it!
Inside we have a cross vibe that reminded me of the recent Abattoir and the classic Dusk Till Dawn, as we the viewer know something is not right, but our four male leads are oblivious to their surroundings.
With some strange surreal scenes that will leave you baffled, Jonah is finally introduced to Lilith who gives him the most powerful orgasm a man can have, all thanks to the use of a loving tune – yes – stick with me, and to return the favour, Jonah wrongly believes she is being imprisoned and decides to free her, which we all know is the most silliest thing to do, but hey, he had good intention.
What follows? Well blood gets spilled! Murders take place! A sort of a Medusa type gets revealed and poor Lilith, the only thing she wants to do is find a mate for life, even if it means a scene involving male rape!
Its hard not to like this movie especially with an engaging horror lead and while the film moves away from its horror roots and more into a creature feature, there are some enjoyable moments and the four boys fighting to survive, never cross the line of being jerks, in fact I found myself sympathising with Jonah as all he wants to do through out is the right thing, even towards the predictable climax, and not many horror films offer that!
My only gripe is once more heading back towards its original short as while that was a breath of fresh air, Sirenowes a huge debt to many other films as you can not help but shake the whiff of Jeepers Creepers, Splice and Species to its blueprint. Did that spoil my enjoyment? Of course not! But I was hoping for something with a bit more of a scare factor, the words “I like you!” didn’t send a shudder through my bones like it once did!
Hardcore horror veterans will no doubt tut at what they seeing, but aside from a few minor grumbles, Siren comes across like a perfect rental for a Friday night, its harmless and entertaining and will suit those who causally love this genre.
And it also reminds you, never to go to a strange place in the middle of nowhere and if you do and witness some crazy shit……just leave…….
3 Hatchets Out Of 5