FILM INFO: Abigail, a beautiful and well-adjusted model, is bitten by an unknown creature during a seaside photo shoot. In the days that follow, her very being unravels as she undergoes an unwanted metamorphosis.
WRITTEN BY: Kat Threlkeld DIRECTED BY: Kat Threlkeld GENRE: Horror TIME: 17 minutes.
I've seen some damn good low budget films. Especially recently. It is true that my own, and many other peoples views, on low budget indie have begun changing. No longer does "independent" always mean low quality, and that's a great thing. It also happens to raise the bar somewhat. Movies I would have rated three stars only a few short years ago, would now receive a two... if even that. How is that for industry changes? When it comes to "Seirēn" from writer, director Kat Threlkeld, I could point out that this, is a perfect example. This is one of those movies that shocked the hell out of me, and even when considering that higher standard I wrote of above, this film still earns it's four and a half stars. I suspected it would be good before even watching. I just didn't expect it to be this good. Just as the description, title and poster describe. "Seirēn" highlights the changes of our leading lady Abigail, into the "Seirēn" the title promises. Just what is a Seirēn? I'm not totally sure, but think it's a creature of Kat Threlkeld's imagination, based on similar ancient myths. In essence... it's an evil Mermaid. In mythology, a Mermaid is half woman half fish - and a Siren is half woman half bird. So the slightly different spelling makes me think Threlkeld's vision is simply a variation. Maybe poking fun at our, human kind's, current understanding of mythic creatures. Or maybe it simply sounds, and looks better, than calling the film Evil Mermaid. Back to topic. Us viewers get a seventeen minute ride from conception - for lack of a better word - to full out transformation of a successful, strong woman... into a mess. We get to witness Abigail's physical changes as well as her mental changes. There are also hints of relationship complications and the general competitive nature of life, all within these few short minutes. I also couldn't help but chuckle a little during a scene involving Abigail's call to authorities for help. I'm not sure if intentional or not, but the nature of that phone call truly demonstrates many elements of the world we live in today. However, with all my writing of this or that, what's the real story with this film? It's a horror movie. Once you strip away the bells and whistles, remove the potential undertones of the writing, and really look at what you have... it's a horror film. No doubt about that - and no complaints either. Going into this film, thinking you have a pretty good idea of just what "independent" looks like, is going to make you really stop and think. "Seirēn" looks anything but indie. Although some of the opening act was a little soft, I found it added a hell of a lot more than it took away. Something about the colors, and the not quite razor sharp image, really countered the imagery within the final scenes. In a great way. Speaking generally production-wise... this was an excellent looking film. Easily giving titles with a "real" film budget a run for their money. Maybe even surpassing many current and older titles. I also truly appreciated the use of practical effects. Let me rephrase that a little. I loved the use of them! Those gills? Damn people! Some really nice work. I also can't deny the fluid video edit that works to showcase the story, and excellently shot footage. Sometimes, a clever edit is needed to hide the imperfections of the shoot itself. Doesn't feel that way here. "Seirēn" flows from start to finish without any hitch or lag at all. Lastly, and briefly, let me write that the acting, especially from Sayla de Goede as Abigail, was fantastic. Mallory Palmer and Arnaldo Lavres in supporting roles were definite winners as well, but with the camera pretty much on her at all times, Goede had no problems leading us through this horrific adventure. Well played gals and guy. Well played indeed. You won't get much except maybe a "sense" of what awaits you when you watch the trailer for this short film. Take my word for it however, it's good. As I wrote above, "Seirēn" easily "earns" my personal rating of four and a half stars. Everyone involved in this production should be proud of what they've accomplished with so little. In movie terms anyhow. "Seirēn" is available to buy, contained within a compilation of indie films. Part of the "Blood In The Snow" festival picks. I would recommend paying this collection a visit. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much entertainment you get, for so very little. As for "Seirēn" by itself? Thumbs way up.