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Featured DVD Review: Siren

March 14th, 2011

Siren - Buy from Amazon

Siren is a British horror film being released direct-to-DVD here by Lionsgate. Normally when you hear "horror" and "direct-to-DVD" in the same sentence, it raises warning bells. However, Lionsgate does have a better than average success rate at finding smaller films like this, while it is an import, which could explain why it couldn't find a theatrical release here. This does give me some reason to be cautiously optimistic.

The Movie

Four friends plan a get together on a luxury sailboat for a tour off the Mediterranean coast. One of them, Claire, is unable to make it, but the other three, Ken, Rachel, and Marco sail away. Ken works for a big corporation and he's on the fast track, so much so that they are letting him use their boat, which is normally reserved for impressing potential clients. He and Rachel are a couple, something Marco isn't exactly happy about, as he's always had a thing for Rachel, but he left years ago to find himself.

Love triangles tend to be awkward, but when the trio are in the middle of the water. That just spells bad vacation.

It gets worse.

Marco nearly runs the ship aground after seeing someone swimming in the water. They rescue the poor man, who shouts incoherently at them for a bit, then dies. They decide to drop him back on the island he came from, because they don't want the authorities to catch them with a dead guy on their boat. But when they get to said island, they meet Silka, the dead man's friend. She can't remember who he was, or how they got to the island, or why. Ken is upset about this turn of events, after all, she saw them burying the dead guy. On the other hand, Rachel is more protective, and Marco is thinking at least he's not a third wheel anymore.

With their sailboat temporarily out of commission, they decide to camp on the island for the night, where things continue to head south. Rachel has a vivid memory of being on the island before, and passes out. Both Ken and Marco start acting strange. Silka seems attracted to Rachel and the pair decide to bath nude in the sea, so at least it's not all bad.

Man, the cover to this DVD is misleading. I went into this movie thinking it would be like Last Resort, which I previously reviewed. I was expecting this movie to be in the Boobs and Blood genre of low-budget filmmaking. And while there are some of both in the movie, this is actually a suspenseful psychological film. There's even a prologue of sorts that is well-done, if a little out of place in the final film. (It involves a hitch-hiker getting picked up on a deserted road and the entire time you are trying to guess which one is the psycho-killer and which one will be the victim, but there's a twist to it, which I won't spoil here. Although just knowing there's a twist is a bit of a spoiler in itself.) The performances are strong, the atmosphere builds nicely, and the film is beautifully shot.

Perhaps one could argue that the pacing is a little off, which for a film that's just 75 minutes long is a little strange. (The prologue, while well-done, wasn't needed.) Also, the love triangle part of the movie wasn't particularly interesting, as the two guys vying for Rachel were not particularly interesting.

Overall it was a very pleasant surprise and definitely worth checking out.

The Extras

The only extra on the DVD are some deleted / extended scenes.

The Verdict

The worst part about Siren is the cover art on the DVD as it sets up some low expectations of bloody mayhem and gratuitous nudity. The film is actually an effective and suspenseful film that is better than expected and certainly worth checking out. There are not a lot of extras, so I would start with a rental.


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