The Siren follows Tom (Evan Dumouchel of Doctor Sleep), a man who has lost his ability to speak by way of an unfortunate accident. While visiting a lake house, Tom encounters Al (MacLeod Andrews of Doctor Sleep), a widow who lost his husband years before and Nina (Margaret Ying Drake of They Look Like People) a peculiar woman. When Tom begins to communicate with Nina, they connect in a way neither has experienced before.
What immediately stood to me about The Siren is that there is little to no dialogue throughout the film’s runtime. The absence of dialogue makes all the other sounds that much more noticeable and that much more effective. Instead of spoken word, water rippling, eerie music, and low growls dictate the story instead.
Writer/director Perry Blackshear opts for the show us, don’t tell us technique and does it quite effectively, driving the narrative with well thought out shots that inform viewers of the storyline. This gives The Siren an arthouse feel, but is not pretentious like many metaphor driven movies (see Mother). This can be quite risky as a movie without dialogue and poor visual aides can quickly become boring, but The Siren avoids this misstep by honing in on three very different characters who have diverse histories.
The Siren is an exploration of grief as Al, Nina, and Tom experience, and thus, handle it in their own way. Al’s channels his grief into anger, fury at his dead husband. Nina’s grief pertains to her lot in life, and Tom’s stems from his struggle to communicate. These three separate, but intertwined journeys coalesce to create a haunting experience of the same wavelength of emotions. Neither is right or wrong, but they are all dealing with these feelings in an assortment of ways.
Without giving away too much of the story, the portrayal of the monster, the siren is an excellent showcase in how to create a monster with rules and motivations that make sense. The siren in the film breaks away from tradition and instead melds together several iterations of the myth to create a believeable creature who functions in a structured role. This might seem silly to appreciate, but when introducing a supernatural being as the antagonist, it’s crucial to set these boundaries for maximum effect.
Overall, The Siren is a refreshing film that I thoroughly enjoyed and I highly recommend. If you are looking for a dark, gothic fairy tale, you will find it in The Siren. If you enjoyed films like Crimson Peak and Lady in the Water, The Siren is definitely in that vein. The production quality, acting, and storyline are all strong elements that I believe horror fans will thoroughly enjoy. You can check it out on Digital Platforms and DVD beginning January 28, 2020.
WICKED RATING: 8/10
Director(s): Perry Blackshear
Stars: Margaret Ying Drake, MacLeod Andrews, Evan Dumouchel
Release: January 28, 2020
Studio/ Production Co: MPI and Dark Sky Films