It is uncommon when an anthology film generates one of the stories into a feature length, but that is exactly what occurs with the film SiREN, which was previously known as ‘Amateur Night’ in V/H/S (2012). Now this even goes a step further, with Hannah Fierman reprising her character Lily, needless to say the story that director Gregg Bishops creates becomes a new variation of the Greek mythology tale, which spawned over 160 different versions in all genres of film, and not including those at a theater. Amateur Night, many regard as an incredible popular segment and recalling in that story the nymph (though not firmed by anyone’s standards as to cryptozoology of the species) chews on the scenery but memories. However, this time, definitely a Siren monster, luring men, in this case a bachelor party to their demise, with her voice, and more. In a side note, Bishop does have a connection to the V/H/S series as he did segment ‘Dante the Great’ for the part two, known as Viral, servicing in the positions of director, writer, producer and practical every other job title possible.
The Siren in this production morphs far past the dangerous creatures born from the river god Achelous, that lived in the sea, attracting the sailors to their deaths, herein she belongs to a brothel, where better to find willing prey. Early on, the visuals present themselves wonderful and unleashing violence and bloodshed, and allow the illusion of control to cascade over everyone, hence casting a wide strong net. The story herein starts with Jonah (Chase Williamson (Beyond the Gates (2016)) engaged to his love Eva (Lindsey Garrett) while his best man and rude brother, Mac (Michael Aaron Milligan – gives a nice performance), and two of their close buds Rand and Elliott (Hayes Mercure and Randy McDowell) out for a night of debauchery. Soon Mac’s plans fall apart and end in ruin, and disgust for their buddies, and yet a relief to Jonah, however everything in their lives changes as a stranger tells them of a mysterious location where their dreams will come true. All horror fans know advice from strangers and hidden places never result in an ideal fun trip, however these men can’t resist the temptation, greed of lust for them. The operator of the brothel, Mr. Nyx (Justin Welborn, who also starred in Bishop’s Dante the Great), who soon introduces them to Lilith (Lily) another signal to the horror crowd, alerting them of impending doom, however this place contains several monsters not just one. Just think about a crypt full of vampires, such as in the two films from 1996 first From Dusk to Dawn and then Bordello of Blood (1996), contain variations of the same species, this place no different. Needless to say, Fierman does a job wonderful in her role, creating and conjuring an animal magnetism, and movements the lure all into her grasp, gentle and yet firm. The lusts of the men entice new horrors and in some cases getting to the guts of the matter quickly, thoroughly looking to tear into the issues troubling them. Now the aspect of cheapness comes from Mac along with his misogyny and it cascades over the others in the group to some degree, but again it is a bachelor party and not a church choir, the web of monsters and creatures come from every place, take note of Ash (Brittany S. Hall).
Bishop uses a combination of precision cuts and peculiar angles for various scenes in the film, from Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski’s script that expand the original story into a broader scope from original creators David Bruckner and Nicholas Tecosky, using the ancient myths and creature feature of stylized points. Now, some of the effects aren’t all winners, but that falls more trying to go for more than the budget allows, yet it works for the backwoods mayhem of the establishment and for the production and distribution company Chiller Films step in the right direction.
SiREN, with the funky title writing, never bogs down in the film, in fact seems very fast paced, and still about to engage the monster fans, with sympatric characters, creative gross bloody moments, though never extending to a gross out or a splatter fest – sorry. The characters from the short film, vanish in this tale, and is replaced with a well-crafted tale, for another version in the timeless retelling of the story, even up to the last moments of screen time.
This review originally published on Rogue Cinema website in December of 2016 with a view count of 1,401.
IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 6/10