Distributor: Matchbox Films
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date (UK): 27th June 2011
Directed by: Andrew Hull
Starring: Eoin Macken, Anna Skellern, Tereza Srbova, Anthony Jabre
Review by: Nia Edwards-Behi
To say that the cover for this DVD is a little misleading might be a bit of an understatement. To say that it’s got absolutely sod-all to do with the film would be more accurate. Obviously aiming for a certain audience, Siren is a film that actually deserves better than pigeon-holing into a ‘cor, this has got sexy ladies in it!’ slot.
Rachel (Anna Skellern), our beautiful, somewhat coy leading lady, and her boyfriend Ken (Eoin Macken) meet up with old friend Marco (Anthony Jabre) for a weekend away on a borrowed boat in the Mediterranean off Tunisia. Their ideas for a paradisiacal break together are thwarted when they take on board a castaway who promptly dies on the deck of their yacht. In the middle of nowhere, they take his body to nearby island to discover a second castaway, the enchanting Silka (Tereza Srbova). Stuck on the island, the four hot-blooded companions find themselves in an increasingly paranoid, tense and deadly situation, as rivalries and insecurities come to the fore.
Siren is certainly an attractive film, both in its good-looking cast and its exotic location. Impressively, what could become something of a sleaze-fest avoids such trappings, and mercifully the cast put in some solid performances. The women come off best, perhaps with more to work with. Skellern ensures Anna just about stays on the right side of annoyingly earnest and sensible, while Srbova brings some impressive subtlety to a role that could easily have simply required her to look pretty (which she certainly does). The sadly late Andrew Hull directs the film with some flair, providing much of the film’s sinister atmosphere even in its ostensibly blissful setting.
I’ve seen the film a couple of times now, and I actually preferred it on the second watch. Some of the moments that made me roll my eyes the first time round – it’s not a film until some girls start kissing! – aren’t nearly so irritating upon rewatch. The reason being, quite simply, that Siren has a decently strong plot. Feeling a little like a horror film from the 1940s – but with a lot of added sex – Siren plays on a fairly universal sense of paranoia regarding relationships and self-worth. It’s refreshing to see a relatively low-budget film that relies on its story rather than elaborate or gory set-pieces. It’s evident that those making Siren weren’t willing to treat its audience like idiots, which makes for a very nice change. The film might not do anything too thrillingly new or original, but at least it does what it does with respect for its audience. One of the film’s highlights is the film’s most violent, some nifty editing and sound design making for a nice, understated moment of monstrosity. It’s a shame that some later scenes employ some very obvious CGI blood, presumably just to up the requisite gore tally. It’s worth mentioning the film’s excellent opening sequence as one that very effectively sets the tone for the rest of the film, the nuances of which become increasingly apparent on the second view.
The one extra feature on this DVD is some deleted scenes – mostly variations on what’s in the end product – which serve to emphasise the mythological aspect of the film, which I imagine was cut simply to make it less talky. A shame, but the film doesn’t really lose out for being less on the nose. As it is, it’s an interesting thriller that’s worth picking up – and not just for the half-naked woman on the cover.