Film: The Siren
Director: Perry Blackshear
Writer: Perry Blackshear
Starring: Margaret Ying Drake, MacLeod Andrews and Evan Dumouchel
This was one of the earlier films that got a wide release in 2020. I added it to my list of potential watches and decided during December when I was running through titles, I would watch this. I knew that it involved a lake, a creature and that was about it. I will say that the siren is an interesting mythological creature for sure. The synopsis here is a man searches the lake for the monster that murdered his husband while that monster falls in love with an unsuspecting visitor.
For this we first learn about the creature. What I like here is that the movie is establishing its own mythos for the siren. There’s a quote from Nietzsche as well: ‘That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil’. We then get the tale of the Rusalka or the siren. In this case it is an ordinary young woman that drowns and becomes a vengeful creature, drowning all those that come close to her.
Living in this area is Al (MacLeod Andrews). He’s the married man from the synopsis and we get voice-over narration as he laments to Michael who drowned in the lake. He believes there is a creature that killed him in it. I think part of this is him needing to focus his grief and not wanting to accept that his husband could have killed himself.
Coming to visit this lake is Tom (Evan Dumouchel). He’s a mute who is quite religious. We hear him listening to voicemails from a pastor or someone who is close to him that will relay scripture. Tom hasn’t really experienced much of life from what I gather and I think this is in part due to his disability. He seems to be staying in this cabin by the lake as he’s afraid of the water. An accident while swimming caused him to be in this condition and I thought he was trying to face that fear.
Arriving at this lake, that first night he meets Nina (Margaret Ying Drake). She seems shocked to see him there and the two of them hit it off. Tom also meets Al and they also form a bond of friendship. Nina is hiding a terrible secret and this becomes a journey for all three of these characters to find themselves.
That’s all I feel that I need to relay to get you up to speed with this movie as there isn’t a lot to the story. It is a film about relationships and the changes that come over people through them with the backdrop of this creature looming over this location. I’ve already broken down the characters a bit, but that’s where I think I’ll go for my analysis for a bit more.
First let’s look at the one that is creating the problems with Nina. From the information we get in the beginning, we know that she’s a tragic character. Her heart was broken so she killed herself in the lake. She has then become this creature that will kill those that get close to it. She also cannot leave the water completely. There needs to be at least a part of her in it at all times and we get to see what happens when she tries to leave. She attempts this to prove something to Tom, which is an interesting scene for sure. They don’t make Nina monstrous though. That was something I found interesting. Her voice distorts and her eyes change, that is it. She does question herself though when she falls in love with Tom and does seem to want to change. I do like this idea of love conquering the evil angle they were going for.
Since I’ve went into him a bit, I’ll go into Tom next. He is a character that has a disability and from what I gathered, it has sheltered his experiences on life. I feel this naivety he has is reflected in him falling for Nina. She has her own issues and it is two people that are broken finding each other. He’s a good guy though. He easily befriends her and Al which I did like to see. His kindness is a bit of his downfall though as well.
That would be the final character of Al. He’s had to deal with the tragedy of what happened to Michael. It sets him on this path to kill what killed him. I think this is him not dealing with his grief though by focusing on a task. When he first meets Nina, he realizes his folly and then it turns to hating Michael for killing himself. I do like though that there is the truth of all this that leads to our climax.
We really only have these 3 people for the cast that we really get to meet and I do like the character development. The problem though is that this movie is boring. I feel that everything I gave you here could have made a strong 30 to 40 minute short. This gets drug out to 1 hour and 20 minutes which I just really had trouble caring for a good stretch. Not enough happens to warrant the extra time and things get repetitive in my opinion. We needed more to happen.
Next would be the effects. We really don’t get a lot, which is odd for a creature feature. We do have where Nina’s eye change to black. I did like that. I believe there were also some colored filters for the light that I didn’t mind. We never see Nina become anything monstrous which would have worked for me. I also feel that Drake didn’t want to be nude as her character is dressed every time we see her. It doesn’t fit necessarily with the creature, but I’m not going to hold it against the movie. The cinematography was also fine in my opinion.
The last thing to go into would be the soundtrack. They had this great women’s choir to do the music. It really gives a haunting feel which fits the tone of the movie. It is one that I do think I’m actually going to seek out the soundtrack for background music when I’m writing. I also really enjoyed the distortion of Nina’s voice as the creature as well.
In closing, this movie does have an interesting concept in theory. I do like taking the mythological creature and doing their own thing with it. The problem though is that I wanted a bit more with that. The performances of our three characters were good. They are really the only cast we get. I even like the soundtrack for the movie and the effects that we got were solid. The problem is that this is a short movie, but nothing much really happens so I found myself bored. I think the padding should be removed and more of a subplot to deepen things would really have helped here. So with that said, I found this to be middle of the road for me. There are good elements and some not so good, so I’m saying this is average.
My Rating: 5 out of 10