Anyone familiar with the 2012 anthology horror film, V/H/S, knows that each short story leaves enough detail shrouded in mystery to warrant a full-length feature adaptation. With so many mixed reviews, the real question is do we want to see one? This was put to the test earlier this month with the release of SiREN: a spin-off to V/H/S’s first segment, Amateur Night.
With his wedding just around the corner, Jonah (Chase Williamson) places his bachelor party plans in the hands of his brother. When the bachelor and his groomsmen end up at a disappointing strip club, their night out appears to be a letdown ending with booze and shrooms. When a stranger offers to escort the group to a private part of which they can only dream, Jonah’s brother jumps at this chance in hopes of salvaging a night to be remembered.
When the bachelor and his groomsmen arrive at a secluded mansion, one almost anticipates a scene out of Eyes Wide Shut with a nightmarish twist. This expectancy falls short from an audience perspective when the house is revealed to be an exclusive underground strip club with bondage, torture, and oddity twists. When the proprietor, Mr. Nyx (Justin Welborn), invites Jonah and his groomsmen backstage, things take a weirder turn. Hiding his sinister supernatural motive, Nyx sends Jonah to a room where he receives a private show from Lily (Hannah Fierman) free of monetary charge. Enchanting Jonah with her siren song, the bachelor is convinced that Lily is sexually trafficked and sets her free. Thus begins a night of carnage when Lily reveals herself as a succubus fighting to keep Jonah as the unwilling mate she has chosen.
With already low expectations, skepticism increased after realizing the director, Gregg Bishop, also handled the opening short to the third and weakest anthological installment, V/H/S Viral. However, excellent performances by Williamson, Welborn and Fierman helped carry this film. Had Fierman not reprised her role of Lily from Amateur Night, this film would have surely found itself as a complete free falling flop. Keeping this strong connection to the original V/H/S story was an unexpected surprise, though more could have been done to tie two stories.
While it is no homerun by any means, a few unexpected supernatural twists interwoven within the plot keeps SiREN from crashing and burning making it a worthy one-time view. Personally, I would be willing to roll the dice on another V/H/S spin-off.