'Siren': Film Review

SIREN - Screenshot - H - 2016
Identifies more strongly than expected with its (mostly) naked monster-woman.

A bachelor party gets more out of hand than usual in Gregg Bishop's horror film.

Beginning on ground well covered in bachelor-party cinema but veering into stranger territory early on, Gregg Bishop's Siren sends four young men in search of exotic temptations but gives them a monster instead. Stocked with T&A but less explicitly sexual when it comes to the woman/demon at its center, the movie is protective of its nearly nonverbal star in a way that should be welcomed by horror buffs, though crossover appeal is slim.

That creature, referred to as a lilith (drawing on Jewish mythology) and played by Hannah Fierman, was summoned from another world by amateur sorcerers who immediately lost control of her, then lost their lives. She's captured in the pic's prologue by Nyx (Justin Welborn, tasting the scenery if not chewing it), who winds up using her nonlethal abilities — her wordless singing can transport a man to ecstasy — in a very peculiar bordello.

It is here that groom-to-be Jonah (Chase Williamson) and two similarly mild-mannered buddies wind up being dragged by his frat boy'ish sibling Mac (Michael Aaron Milligan). The four don't understand that there's anything supernatural going on in this ornate mansion in the middle of the swamp; they just see pretty women in a nicer setting than the strip clubs in town. Then they send Jonah off on his own for a solo experience Nyx promises will be once in a lifetime.

When he sees that the unnamed lilith is locked in the chamber where she performs, Jonah's wholesome instincts kick in: Sure, he and his friends are on shrooms; sure, there are armed goons around; but still he insists they must rescue her. What he can't expect is that, once released, the lilith's lovely face will rip apart like a twisted anime vision and she'll start disemboweling anyone in sight.

She forms a bond with her rescuer, though, putting a tricky spin on Jonah's attempts to get away from the bloodshed before it claims all his companions. The screenplay finds ways to make this more involving than the average flee-the-monster storyline, and, by the genre's standards, direction and performances rate reasonably well. Expect lots of blood, a sex act few will be aroused by (the monster/human coitus in 2009's Splice comes to mind) and an unusual amount of empathy for an entrail-eating demon who just wants to mate for life with the engaged man who freed her.


Production company: Chiller Films

Distributor: Chiller Films

Cast: Hannah Fierman, Chase Williamson, Justin Welborn, Michael Aaron Milligan, Hayes Mercure, Randy McDowell

Director-Editor: Gregg Bishop

Screenwriters: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski

Producers: Gary Binkow, Jude S. Walko

Executive producers: David Bruckner, Brad Miska, Andrew Reyes, Justin Smith

Director of photography: George Feucht

Production designer: Boontawee Thor Taweepasas

Costume designer: Peri Richards

Composer: Kristopher Carter

Casting directors: Rita Harrell, Jen Kelley

82 minutes