Imagine being so attractive that you can’t leave your house without being pursued by hoards of men. It’s a problem many girls wish we had. Siren, which previewed at the Nocturna Festival, is written and directed by Jesse Peyronel, and exposes the downside to being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
The contemporary story unfolds in a small town in an unspecified part of the United States. Thirty-something Leigh (Vinessa Shaw) lives alone in an isolated cottage in the woods. She’s undeniably cute, but it soon becomes clear that she has an extraordinary effect on the men in the neighborhood. Any bloke who wanders by perceives her as his wildest fantasy—blonde or brunette, black or white, young or old, sweet or sultry.
Indeed, ever since puberty, Leigh has produced pheromones that make her inexplicably attractive to men. She spent her teenage ears as the guinea pig of money-hungry scientists, submitted to endless tests and procedures. For the last several years, she’s been selling vials of her blood to a chemical company that makes perfume.
But when a drifter (Robert Kazinsky) strolls onto Leigh’s property, he seems immune to her charm, and treats her like any other woman. Intrigued, Leigh asks him to stick around for a bit and repair her home monitor system. Over the next few days, the she realizes that he can’t smell, which explains why he doesn’t turn into a blabbering idiot in her presence. Naturally, he becomes the first male companion she’s ever had. The two become close, and Leigh learns that she’s not the only one keeping secrets.
It may sound a little cheesy, but ultimately this is a horror movie about the dangers of being just too darn gorgeous, yet it’s entertaining, and proves to be one of those films where you find yourself rooting for the protagonists, screaming out, “Don’t open that door; are you crazy?!?!” or “Don’t trust him; he’s got a gun!” The special effects are incorporated well, and the protagonist is played by a variety of actresses (though one primary actress) to illustrate the various physical forms she assumes—a choice that also works successfully.
The Nocturna Festival offered an exclusive preview, and the mind-teasing premise will satisfy those who enjoy escaping from reality; unless, perhaps, you are actually incredibly gorgeous, in which case the movie might be a painful reminder of the horrors and risks of being über-hot.