directed by Gregg Bishop
starring Hannah Fierman, Justin Welborn, Chase Williamson
Anyone who saw the first entry of the V/H/S series will likely remember the seductive brown eyes of an evil succubus in a segment titled Amateur Night. Hannah Fierman returns to that role in a full-length adaptation, which is certainly entertaining and features many similar themes in a familiar style of the original, but ultimately isn’t as memorable or effective. Lengthening Amateur Night is an intriguing idea, as it was definitely one of the best V/H/S segments, but being forced to expand story is where SiREN doesn’t excel. The movie falls into a series of plot points and character decisions that make it feel too much like an average, undistinguished horror flick.
Minus a brief foreshadowing scene, SiREN follows an almost identical route to the original with four guys heading out on a bachelor party mostly to meet girls and get messed up. With things turning a little stale, they decide to follow a guy from the bar to a mansion miles and miles into the woods hoping to have the night of their lives. Describing the plot so plainly seems dismissive of any buildup, but there really isn’t much else. The series of ominous events that quickly occur are not surprising, and are just obvious markers that something will go wrong. Which, I suppose anyone watching the movie will expect, but it definitely takes away a lot of tension when you are looking at a simple plot with characters making bad decisions so quickly. SiREN is only 82 minutes long, but still feels locked down on recreating the same kind of haunt that the original short had. And about twenty minutes into SiREN, the benefits that Amateur Night are obvious. It was built to be a succubus thrill ride, without any explanation. Having nothing explained, and the events happening so quickly, was what made it great.
Fierman is pretty fantastic in her role and is by far the highlight of the film. It’s a limited character in terms of dialogue but she is once again creepy and memorable, and her physical movements are also perfectly eerie. While the rest of the movie is fairly entertaining and could be worth a watch, it’s has way too many eye-roll inducing moments. The cult featured in the movie is clearly well followed and elaborately organized, but they make inane decisions that seem to exist only to keep the movie progressing. And there really isn’t a single solid scare in the movie, but admittedly, it is creepy and has some intense moments. Too much of the time, though, SiREN is predictable and feels like a an assortment of standard horror tropes used to expand what should have just remained a mysterious short film on a lost videotape.