Forbidden Siren (2006)

DVD Cover (Innoform Media)
Yukihiko Tsutsumi Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Yui Ichikawa Yui Ichikawa
Leo Morimoto Leo Morimoto
Naoki Tanaka Naoki Tanaka
Hiroshi Abe Hiroshi Abe
Naomi Nishida Naomi Nishida

5.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Horror, Supernatural Horror, Video Games
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Review by Ginose
Added: January 29, 2010
I'm sure we all have our qualms with video-game being adapted into films. Mostly because they're almost all shit.

This is from a plethora of reasons; for the most part it's because of the facts that making an interactive medium take the leap into a non-interactive one sacrifices one (or more) of many things that truly impact how enjoyable a game is. Mostly because the exposure one gets in a video-game is SIGNIFICANTLY different than the kind you get from film so, while transferring a gory, campy, stupid and tense game like "Resident Evil" into a film SOUNDS simple enough, in truth it only transferred the camp and stupidity, the rest felt like a horribly dull Romero throw-back.

However it may have butchered the story, the important thing to remember is that these films are normally made without fans in mind, and consider more to approach the general audience... you know... where the money is. This can be good or bad, truthfully, I mean, I REALLY fucking liked the "Doom" movie, and it had fuck-all to do with the game, but it carried the tone over perfectly: frantic, moronic and violent. Most fans enjoy this (though it won't stop all of those weeaboo morons bitching about how Pyramid-Head had nothing to do with the first "Silent Hill" and was actually an incarnation of James Sunderland's guilt and thus- oh, fuck it.) because, although it may not have been what they know and love, it still didn't miss the point. I'm one of those people.

Now, why would I go to lengths to point out all of this? I cannot REMEMBER a time when there have been so many video-game movies coming out that I am excited for. Seriously, there's like five. Some independent features made by fans ("Tekken") some new-age Hollywood mangling of old, well-loved serials, knowing fans will see them regardless of how absolutely atrocious they look ("King of Fighters") and one simply a shameless cash-in, hastily conceived and executed in order to meet the release of a new game. This is going to be Capcom's "Dead Rising", clearly, and, although it is looking absolutely awesome (completely revamping its story, but not loosing the tone and feeling of the game), they're hurry to release it is only bringing to mind another time this happened (in the exact same style, at that) and the result of that experiment was... much less than fans (such as myself) hoped for.

A young woman, Yuki, moves to an island near inland Japan with her father and her younger brother Hideo. Her father, a writer, is hoping to learn of the sordid history of the island, while Yuki only hopes to escape the city life they'd known up to then in favor of a more comfortable, quiet existence, hoping to leave behind the bad memories and live a content life while looking after her younger brother.

Although nothing obviously horrible goes on in the town, the strange superstitions of the island people really start to get under Yuki's skin, primarily the one about never going outside during the sounding of the island air-raid siren. Of course, this becomes more and more difficult as her brother tends to wander off a lot, leading Yuki to all kinds of strange and rather startling realizations about the island and its inhabitants.

Although based almost solely on the second game in the series, this movie tended to borrow one thing HEAVILY from the first: The atmosphere. This, however, I can only give it lightly, as it's only truly obvious during the really horrific moments of the film, most of which don't even pick up until the last 40 minutes of the run time. Now, let me just say, lax as they are about putting them in, they work. Very well.

This, however, is the only praise I have for "Siren".

Now, I liked the story. I actually liked the new story quite a bit, but so much is told, and all so ridiculously twisted-about that the movie felt more confused about its purpose of some of the story elements then I was as a viewer, which is never a good thing. I suppose, after watching it a few more times, the story will become more obvious, but it was a bit too simple to become so multi-faceted with a dozen and one story-elements that had fuck-all to do with the actual central plot as we find it. A well-told story knows how to focus itself, no matter how much is going on, and a good writer or director knows when to ignore some things in order to focus the film in the right direction, "Siren" clearly had neither (don't know what happened to Tsutsumi, "2LDK" was great). Oh, and the ending is absolute shit. It's not a BAD ending, but it's almost completely fucking pointless and (possibly purposely, as to get people to purchase the upcoming game) leaves about a dozen questions with no answers in sight. That is a majorly shit ending, no matter who you are. There's an ending meant to be left open for interpretation, and then there's an ending that just decides to leave a bunch of loose-ends for people to be upset over more than ponder. What kind of asshole does that?

The performances vary between decent to absolutely horrible, particularly from the three lead characters, which are saturated with back-story and have more than enough screen-time to get it all across. Hell, even the town doctor is only passable enough to be believable, though his character is all but completely wasted as the film continues.

This, accompanied with the (obvious) low-budget, the hastily assembled script and overall production of this one made for a gruelingly boring and padded film that never gives itself enough time to break out of the constraints of the avalanche of films just like it that Asia squirts out once or twice a year without any real though; this is all a terrible shame, considering it had both a fairly good source-material and a more than recognizable name to get it some attention. Sadly, the overall mediocrity of it all even wasted that.

With the creator of "Dead Rising" in the director's chair behind the film, I can only expect some great things that, hopefully, the film will be able to deliver on, but, if there's one thing I learned from this film, it's that it is VERY easy to forget to make a movie good when you know you're going to make money on it regardless. It doesn't look like that will be a problem this time around, but one can never really know...

"Siren" could and (considering the production team behind it and reason it was made) should have been a simple project to execute and execute well, but it isn't. It was handed poorly and hurriedly in order to cash-in and make another good buck off of a fairly good game. So, kudos for making the horror parts work, it's just a shame that they were barely there. It's a movie that wasn't awful, but it was so damned mediocre that I'm probably more disappointed with it than if it were absolutely terrible.

What a shame it was... what a damn shame...

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