Siren Song (2016)


aka Blood Lust

UK. 2016.


Director – Benedict Mart, Screenplay – Brigitte Jean Allen, Fletcher N. Brown & Lisa Edwards, Producers – Matt Solver & Rebecca Tranter, Photography – Tobias Marshall, Music – Casual-T, Visual Effects Supervisor – Tom Woodall, Title Sequence Animation – Matthew Falconer, Makeup Effects Design – Max Van De Banks, Production Design – Heather Dunn. Production Company – Film Knights Productions/Cannibal Island


Matt Silver (Dan), C. Thomas Howell (Ryan), Rikke Leigh (Callie), Eloise Oliver (Lydia), Helen Blue (Tess), Laura Edghill (Lennie), James Ward (Ethan), Sophie Gomis (Stella), Felice Gioia (Jake), Marcus Harris (Mike), Nigel Billing (Victor West), Rory Wilton (Darius), Chloe Partridge (Annie)


Dan recovers after an attack in which his wife Annie was murdered and he was beaten in the head with a wrench. Dan works as a restaurant critic but since the attack has been unable to eat meat, causing his editor to become dissatisfied with the vegetarian-only reviews he has been turning in. Dan has also struck up an internet relationship with Callie who lives on a remote island. During one of their chat sessions, he hears screams in the background and she abruptly cuts off the chat. After receiving a text message pleading for help, Dan travels to the remote island where Callie runs a hotel along with her two sisters Lydia and Tess. What Dan does not know is that the three sisters are the sirens from Greek myth and lure travellers to the island to kill them. As Dan arrives and he and Callie get to know one another, she begins to realise she has feelings for him, at the same time as her sisters urge her to kill him as they planned.

Siren Song – not to be confused with the more high-profile Siren (2016) released eleven months later – was a directorial debut for British director Benedict Mart. The film was made on a low budget and not widely seen.

There is a bunch of films that specialise in taking Greek myths or elements from them and recasting them in present-day surroundings. See the likes of Orphee (1950), Black Orpheus (1959) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), which offer updatings of classic stories, or isolated appearances of various figures from the myths in Hammer’s The Gorgon (1964) and various Ray Harryhausen films or comedy treatments like Hercules in New York (1970) and The Muse (1999). There was also an entire Young Adult series with the Percy Jackson books, filmed as Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and sequel, about the children of Greek gods operating in the present day. One of the finest of these was the Belgian Malpertuis (1972) concerning a strange house where the Greek gods have been imprisoned. It is this that would seem to have an influence over Siren Song, which posits the idea of the Greek sirens running a remote hotel in the present-day where they lure (principally) men to their doom.

Siren Song is an oddity. All the actual component of Greek myth takes place solely in the animated/narrated opening that tells the story of the sirens. Strangely, this is the only mention of the sirens we get throughout. The rest of the film could take place as a mundane work about a trio of strange sisters who lure men to their inn on a remote island and kill them. There is never any explanation why they do this, although we do have one scene where Helen Blue is carving their bodies up and the suggestion is left that they are eating them (although some clue might be found in the name of the production company Cannibal Island). Without the opening credits, it would certainly be an odd film.

Siren Song is a film that is unconvincing on almost all levels. Benedict Mart’s direction is aimless and amateurish. The camera often seems to be placed around waiting for something to happen and there is no sense that Mart has any idea of how to arrange the action dramatically for a shot. None of the actors do anything to hold your attention. Matt Silver failed to create any empathy as a hero. Of the three sisters, it is only Eloise Oliver who seems to have any idea of projecting sultry and seductive, which would be the adjectives you most associate with sirens. The other two sisters seem amateurs that have been persuaded to come and play parts without many clues about how to act. The only person present who puts the show on a professional footing is C. Thomas Howell who had a minor career as a teen star in the 1980s and has since been appearing in a whole heap of B movies, including even becoming a director for The Asylum, who has a few scenes here as Matt Silver’s best friend.

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