*Sounds of warning sirens* … BLARE!!! BLARE!!! BLARE!!!
This is a public warning announcement service. If you see this poster (to your left) in cinemas or on VCD/DVD covers, do not, I repeat, DO NOT walk into the theatre or pop it into any video players.
Some movies lay traps to disguise a clever ending. Forbidden Siren lays traps, after traps, after traps, to try and distract you from feeling silly after you watched it. The movie is like a buffet of horror themes, but one that leaves a rancid aftertaste. Here’s every horror genre it had included into one very greedy film…
The movie started with ‘reports’ of mysterious disappearances of a whole American shipping crew and the entire population of a small fishing island somewhere in Japan. It puts the audience in a sleuth mode to anticipate the horror that caused these total annihilations. However, these 2 disappearances happened decades apart from each other and at different locations to make them seemingly random.
The missing Americans were unnecessary to the plot if not for the movie’s need of English wordplay to make it seem smart. It repeated the words so many times, yet the words hold no key to unlocking any secrets or explain anything in the movie. It gives me the feeling that a Japanese writer just found out that ‘GOD’ spelt backwards is ‘DOG’, and ‘LIVE’ spelt backwards is ‘EVIL’, felt rather clever about himself, and decided to celebrate his genius by making a movie to emphasize it. It traps you into thinking so much that the phrases hold some power to the mystery, but when the movie explained itself, there’re no correlations. They could use those words or any other words in the movie’s incantations, it didn’t matter. The only necessary thread was the warning that ‘When the sirens sound, don’t go out’.
The Alien Critter
Early into the movie, a family (father, sister and younger brother) from Tokyo moved to this obscure fishing island to centre down. Almost as soon as they propped their luggage down, the audience were introduced to this centipede-like bug with its rows of feet extended out like the hind-legs of crickets. I must say that this bug looked very real and very well animated. With one scene where the bug sneaked away behind a wall while the main characters were talking, the movie seem to suggest that the ferocious looking critter is somehow important to the movie. Again, it led the audience down the wrong path.
I’m fine with movies leading their audiences’ expectations, but in the end, all these things that they highlighted and shown must fit into the jigsaw and explain the puzzle; not unlike giving a month’s old baby a pack of Durex. It’s totally irrelevant and worst, it can become a choking hazard. That’s how this well-designed but un-symbolic bug still got stuck in my throat 2 days after the movie. What a waste for such a beautifully crafted creature.
Sirens in the context of horror movies always conjure up images of carnivorous mermaids. At least Forbidden Sirens kept one part dedicated to its theme. But instead of merfolks making human chow, the story has it that the inhabitants of the island ate a mermaid instead. Years ago, the island was plagued with a foreign disease and almost everyone died. Knowing that eating a mermaid will grant them eternal life, the remaining survivors caught one and digested it. But that part of the footage was never depicted. It would’ve been interesting.
But little did they know, when the sirens on the island sound, those who ate the mermaid turned into zombies not unlike The Night Of The Living Dead. That’s how they actually live on eternally. So there were scenes where the villagers turned into red-eyed zombies bent on capturing the only true humans left.
The sirens were nothing spiritual, but just simply steel mounted warning system not unlike those we have atop dedicated HBD flats.
The story seems forcibly interesting till now. Then the revelation came. There’re actually no sirens. The sirens are only in the mind of the ‘protagonist’ sister who couldn’t get over the death of her brother. What a PR piece for Woodbridge. I learnt more about schizophrenia from this movie than any poster IMH had ever put up. At this point, the movie rewinds to show the inexistent brother and all to explain this was a psycho-hoax of a horror movie. This concept was so dry, I swear I felt my brain swivel up and crack.
There was also this one scene where the father, who was possessed, came back as a shovel wielding psycho-killer to hack his daughter and young son. Then again, at the last point of the movie, you could only try and guess if it’s not the makings of the ‘protagonist’s’ mind. And as if that was not enough, the show ended with the sister (the female lead and protagonist in the movie), rising up from her hospital bed to stab the doctor who had been helping her all along.
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There’re so many themes visited briefly and discarded in this movie, I thought I was watching the reject pile from more respectable yesteryear horrors edited into one film. And the acting was about the same as watching my auntie having her menstrual cramps… which is simply painful to watch. All the female protagonist does is look worried and scream, but in different costumes. The rest of the characters have expressions more stale than roadkill.
The only saving grace of this movie was actually the opening titles. It was rather creative and visually interesting. After that, you’d get more creeps looking at a still photograph of Al-Queda’s chief, Osama.