'SiREN': FrightFest Review

By Newman, Kim | Screen International, August 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

'SiREN': FrightFest Review


Newman, Kim, Screen International


Dir Gregg Bishop. USA, 2016. 82mins

A stag night-gone-wrong horror film with a compelling female monster, SiREN is a remake of / sequel to 'Amatuer Night', an episode of the three-film V/H/S found footage anthology franchise scripted by Nicholas Tecosky and directed by David Bruckner (The Signal, Southbound). Here, director / co-writer Gregg Bishop mashes up the premise of Amateur Night with the themes of his V/H/S Viral episode 'Dante the Great'.

SiREN abandons the found footage angle - overworked in the last few years - to play as conventional film narrative, and consequently depends more on plot and characters than the V/H/S vignettes. Better-natured than much contemporary horror, this will work well even with jaded genre devotees and has decent theatrical prospects with a view to reaping further coin on other platforms.

British-born Hannah Fierman, reprising her V/H/S turn as lithe femme fatale Lily, combines unworldly sexiness and feral viciousness. Justin Welborn, the mad magician of 'Dante the Great', matches her as cowboy-hatted, goateed, sunglasses-sporting conjurer Mr Nyx, proprietor of an out-of-the-way after hours kink club. Lily is a obviously a sequel-friendly character but we also see enough of Mr Nyx and his stable of strange sex workers - especially Brittany S. Hall as a bewigged bartender with a surprising scalp condition - to have a sense of their spin-offpotential.

After a prologue set in a desecrated church, showing how Lily comes to be shackled in Nyx's club, the film gets into Hangover territory as nice guy Jonah (Chase Williamson) leaves his fiancée Eva (Lindsey Garrett) to be taken on a bachelor party by his wilder brother/best man Mac (Michael Aaron Milligan) along with more stable pals Rand (Hayes Mercure) and Elliott (Randy McDowell). …

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