Greedy men shall succumb to the wiles of a mysterious woman of the sea.
What They Say
They thought they'd committed the perfect crimeα Instead they encountered the perfect killing machine! It was a brilliant plan. None of the gand knew each others' name or age. Once the heist was pulled, each would go their separate ways, so even if one was caught, there would be no way to link him to the others. Now, with $1,500,00 in ill-gotten gains, all they had to do was wait a few hours at a hidden location, switch transports and IDs, and they would be off to a life of luxury. But their perfect plan instead becomes the web that ensnares them. For who could have suspected that their avarice would awaken an ancient lust? A malevolent force that once drove sailors mad, luring entire ships onto rocks where they would be sucked dry, their essence consumed? Who could imagine, in these modern times, that a creature like the Siren would have found a new way to trap its masculine prey? Adult superstar Sora Aoi IS the ultimate man-eater, as a path of sex, lust and murder leads to the ultimate horror in SIREN!
Like all Switchblade Pictures releases to this point, this feature is done only with its original Japanese audio which is in stereo and encoded at 224kbps. Like most of these features, it’s a very basic stereo presentation that doesn’t have all that much of an impact to it. Essentially, it comes down to the simplicity of being able to hear the dialogue without any problems and that’s all it aspires to. It does this job cleanly and without problem so it achieves it well, but it’s certainly not going to be something that you’ll remember.
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is not enhanced for anamorphic playback. Like most shows released in this format, they’re fairly decent looking shot on video pieces that make out the worst when it comes to low lit moments, such as when a couple of the characters are out at night in the van driving through the town. It’s simply noisy and grainy, but not surprising considering the low budget nature of it all. Unlike some of the previous releases, there isn’t any noticeable cross coloration or shimmering when it comes to the wooded scenes with the leaves and colors in general look good without any blocking or edge enhancement issues.
Siren has an appealing and somewhat erroneous cover to it that may have you thinking it’s something that it’s not. The central image is of Sora, naked and in the water, looking all seductive. That actually mostly exists within the film and it works nicely here, especially with the heavy reds in the background. What I didn’t see in the movie is the entire buildings crumbling, lightning crashing down aspect that makes it look like it came out of Fist of the North Star. Outside of that aspect, it’s definitely a good looking cover that fits in well with the framework that Switchblade Pictures uses for its design. The back cover takes the water motif and uses it as its background which gives it a chilling look underneath the taglines and the lengthy summary of what the film is about. There’s a handful of decent shots from the film provided along with the production credits and a simple clean technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Siren brings the very popular adult video star who has crossed over to more mainstream features with one of her earlier films to the US. A lot of Switchblade’s films have had the Japanese A/V stars strutting their stuff just as you’d imagine on late night Cinemax flicks and there’s a lot of fun in that kind of show that plays it quick, dirty and without anything resembling serious thought. They’re cheap and trashy, sexy and silly and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
Siren introduces us to a group of bank robbers using amusing aliases such as Freddie, Jason, Lector, Chucky and Jews. Can you see a theme here? The group dresses up as some godawful looking women, rob a bank and then flee to the hills with 1.5 million dollars, splitting it up between them for $300,000 each. With a pretty crappy van as their getaway vehicle, they make their way to a dilapidated hideout where they’re going to wait on a boat that will show in a couple of days to take them away. Each of the men have their dreams and visions of how to use the money, though some of them aren’t exactly swift or they don’t have enough money to properly fulfill their dreams with.
On their trip up, as they get close to their final destination, they come across a woman by the side of the road with a few boxes that they were expecting. Since she sees their faces and knows what they’re up to through the stupidity of one of the gang members, they decide to throw her in the back of the van to use and abuse her before killing her when they’re ready to get out of the country. The young woman, which we previously saw at the start of the film walking out of the water naked with a seductive look, is plainly part of the lore of the area. As one of the gang members talks about, there’s a legend in the area that a beautiful woman kills off men who are too greedy. What better place to choose to hang out until they can escape than in a place like this? These guys are bank robbers, not superstitious fools.
You can see easily how this will turn out. The men invariably try to take their time with the woman and one by one they end up getting killed in different ways, either through her charms (she may be poisonous between the legs!) or through manipulations that cause them to off each other out of distrust. Often it’s the kind of goofy method involved where you see the woman being ravaged by one of the guys only to have him seize up and die while she looks all cool and pleased by what she’s done. Other times it’s a hilarious moment of John Woo “homage” where four of the guys point guns at each other because the situation has gotten so tense and uncertain. I can’t help but think of this as if a group of horny teenagers saw Reservoir Dogs and decided to make their own version in what they perceived as a better way.
The big draw for this film is the talents of Sora Aoi, of a number of Japanese adult video actresses who have managed to make some amount of crossover to the mainstream since she started. Siren looks to have come out in the middle of her career overall, with a lot of modeling and adult videos done around the same time, and it fits in with much of what those are like. She’s got an attractive look to her and she carries herself well since she has to portray someone being taken advantage of but knowing she holds the upper hand. And being the only woman in the film, she gets plenty of screen time as well. The guys are fairly amusing as they play to all the stereotypes, from the cool yakuza type to the dreamer that wants his own hotel as well as the dim young man who doesn’t even care about what the money can buy, he just wants a friend or two.
Siren is all very familiar material in a very familiar genre doing very pedantic work. It’s appeal is purely on the sexual side since the writing is mediocre at best and the acting can be called cute if you want to be polite about it. If you don’t watch big budget films or a lot of genre films of the same nature outside of Japan, you may find things to like here. But essentially it’s another skin flick with an edge of violence and the supernatural to it – that’s never explained anyway – that has a hard time even qualifying as a B movie. It’s good simple trashy fun and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it if you know that’s what you’re getting into. Some of these films are fun, but others just go through the motions in a way that leaves you nodding but disconnected from being interested in it. The main attraction her is certainly Sora Aoi and she’s very much worth a rental at the least.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.