SiREN is the new feature-length movie based on David Bruckner’s Amateur Night segment from the first V/H/S anthology. Bruckner serves as executive producer and 2nd unit director here, but he turns the directorial reins over to Gregg Bishop (Dance of the Dead). Hannah Fierman returns from the short to play the titular creature.
SiREN is a great example of both how found footage does actually work better for some scenarios and of how some tales are better told in the short film format. Unlike Amateur Night, SiREN does not utilize the found footage format and is presented more like a plain, old movie. Unfortunately, the quality of the production value comes off as a step above a Skinemax movie. In fact, the whole plot would lend itself perfectly to such a flick, and it largely plays like one, albeit stopping short of going full-on softcore.
Gone are the mystique and reveal of Amateur Night. Instead, we know (at least to some extent) exactly what we’re dealing with right from the beginning, eliminating any room for suspense or intrigue. Instead, there’s a lot of hanging out with “bros” as they make their way to the climax (in more ways than one). While much of the duration of Amateur Night is also spent “hanging with bros,” that manages to feel more authentic even if they’re obviously less likable characters. Some of SiREN’s bros are at least trying to be likable.
The cinematography leaves a great deal to be desired and actually makes you appreciate the shaky found footage style of the movie’s predecessor. There are some questionable editorial choices as well. For example, there’ a scene in which a group of characters are running, and it plays in slow motion, but not for any discernible reason.These gripes could be semi-neutralized if some of that aforementioned intrigue was present.
The acting is passable, but there aren’t really any stand-out performances. The same could be said of the score.
Some of the creature FX could have benefited from the found footage format to help mask their flaws. You do get a lot more time with the siren in full-on creature mode this time around, as well as some mythology building, though I think the less is more approach of Amateur Night is much more effective.
If you’re a fan of the V/H/S segment, it may be worth your time to watch SiREN for curiosity’s sake. If you’re completely new to the tale, stick with the former.
SiREN is out in select theaters today, and will hit DVD and VOD on December 6th from Chiller Films.