Saturday, January 25, 2020

THE SIREN (2019) (Dark Sky Films DVD Review)

THE SIREN (2019) 

Label: Dark Sky Films
Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.40:1)
Director: Perry Blackshear 
Cast: Evan Dumouchel, MacLeod Andrews, Margaret Ying Drake

In the modern fable The Siren (2019) Tom (Evan Dumouchel), unable to speak and since a childhood swimming accident left him mute, seeks time away from his religious community. To that end renting a small house on the edge of a remote lake, where he meets his neighbor Al (MacLeod Andrews), a man grieving the death of his husband, whom he believes was drown in the lake by a malicious water spirit of local legend.

Tom later meets a mysterious young woman named Nina (Margaret Ying Drake), an enigmatic love interest who never seems to stray from the water's edge. Revenge-minded Al takes notice of this strange courtship and begins to believe that Nina is the murderous water-spirit, and he might be right, or he might be losing his mind.

The Siren (2019)  is based on the Russian folktale of the Rusalka, a doomed spirit often associated with suicide or unnatural death near bodies of water, who later returns and haunts the area. The film handles it with an arthouse ambiguity that I can see general audience not finding very satisfying at first blush, it has a hypnotic and languid pace, coming off as a minimalist fairy-tale in it's execution, something i can see not being for all taste.

The horror of it all is slim, but the acting is top-notch, touching on themes of love, addiction and tragedy, with mute-Tom doing it without ever uttering a single word.  Margaret Ying Drake is fantastic as the malicious water-spirit, she's engaging, if downright chatty for a supernatural being, and getting across the conflicted state of seemingly falling in love but also doomed to follow her accursed path. MacLeod Andrews as the grieving widow seeking vengeance against the water-spirit is also very good, oftentimes questioning his own sanity in diary entries addressed to his dead husband, everyone in this three person film is excellent in their roles.

The film is very languid in it's pacing, far slower what I would even call a slow-burn, more of crawl at times, but sprinkled with dread and unease that kept me rapt. It's the sort of film that's thematically rich as it explores the folkloric tale, but it's not gonna be the sort of film I think the casual horror fan is gonna be pleased with, but I enjoyed it, if you're looking for something thoughtful and interesting, but doesn't have any gore pay-off this might be worth checking out.

Audio/Video: The Siren (12019) arrives on DVD from Dark Sky Films in anamorphic (2.40:1) widescreen looking solid in standard definition, colors looks solid, skin tone looks accurate and the black levels look good throughout. Audio comes by way of English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with no subtitles. Everything is clean and well balanced throughout.

Extras include a pair of audio commentaries from the director and cast, plus we get an brief interview with the director from the Glasgow Frigthfrest by Alan Jones.

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Perry Blackshear and Margaret Ying Drake
- Audio Commentary with Macleod Andrews and Evan Dumouchel
- Perry Blackshear Interview at Glasgow Frghtfest 
- Trailer

I liked The Siren (2019), but I didn't love it, a quiet folkloric fable that lacks the visceral gore edge of a traditional horror film, but it's thematically rich in it's exploration of a tragic love story, which I appreciated, but didn't love. 

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