Nightsiren Movie Review

“Nightsiren” is a drama contained in the format of a psychological horror story, wherein local customs and superstitions clash with modern day norms. The location of a remote mountain side village reveals that even though time has passed into the present day, some cling tightly to folklore and spooky tales.

Available on Digital Platforms starting October 24, 2023


The story starts with a tragic accident. A young girl has been physically abused by her mother, so she runs away. They live on a ridge above the local village in Slovakia. The young girl is chased by her younger sister. They run up to the edge of a ledge, and the younger sister falls off.


The older sister is shocked and fears for the worst. She runs off and finds her way somehow out of the village. They live next to an old woman, and local gossip says she is a witch. When the two girls are never found, the townspeople gang up on the cranky old lady, named Otyla (played by Iva Bittová).


Twenty years have passed, and the older sister – named Sarlota (played by Natalia Germani) – comes back to the village. She received some news of her mother’s death and about an inheritance. She visits the location of her mother’s old ‘Cabin in the Woods’. But there is nothing there but burned-out remains. The fire must have happened many years ago, and Sarlota never knew about it.


Sarlota finds the abandoned old cabin that used to belong to Otyla – the local ‘witch’. Nobody is there, so she decides to camp out until she can figure out what is going on. She goes into the town, and there she meets Anna (played by Jana Olhová). Anna was a friend to her mother. When Anna hears that Sarlota plans to stay at the old Otyla cabin, she gets very agitated. “Come stay with us instead” she says.


Sarlota goes out her own way, and visits the local town offices. The Mayor is out of town for the holiday, and there is nobody who can explain the letter that Sarlota received. Everyone is looking askance at Sarlota, because everyone assumed she was dead. There is no property or assets from her mother. So why is she there — staying at the house of a ‘witch’?


One of Anna’s children is a woman named Helena (played by Juliana Olhová). She tells Sarlota that this village offers nothing for her. If she could find a way out of town, Helena would leave immediately. There is an uncomfortable feeling that Sarota gets when people stare at her. Anyone who grew up next to the house of a ‘witch’, why would they come back and stay in that old creepy cabin?


One night, Sarlota hears noises outside. She finds a young woman laying naked in the moonlight. She tells Sarota she is getting a moon tan. Her name is Mira (played by Eva Mores). She is a free-spirited type who makes a living searching for and selling wild herbs. Sarlota and Mira hit it off and they are the only ones in the village who like each other’s company.


All the men in the village have antiquated ideas about the role of a woman. Husbands treat their wives and children with indifference and loathing. The woman folk are subservient and meek. There are no modern ideas or thinking that is allowed in the village. That is one of main reasons that Helena wants to leave.


Sarlota has training as a nurse, but people do not believe it. They think she might be the ‘witch’ Otyla who has come back to haunt the village. Men act rudely to Mira and Sarlota. They think these ‘loose’ women will bring a curse onto the town. Already there have been unusual things happening to the animals. What will come next?


In nighttime hours, Sarlota sees some mystical things in the woods. She thinks she sees a coven of witches that dance and prance among the trees. But it might be induced by some of the stronger ‘herbs’ supplied by Mira. But there is an undercurrent of tension that builds. Then a couple of young boys go missing after a big public gathering. Helena runs away at night through the forest. But soon, she too goes over the ledge. Must be Chekhov’s Cliff, I guess…


Accusing eyes are cast on Sarlota and her friend Mira. Townsfolk believe that witches have returned, and they intend to steal their children. Helena’s body is found at the bottom of a ravine, near the ledge where it all started. The superstitious camel has had its back broken – and Sarlota and Mira are the straws that broke the back.


Sarlota finds that she and Mira are closer than she imagined. She learns about what happened after she ran away, and how her mother died that day – and how her childhood cabin burned to the ground. But the two young boys are still missing. The family of local yokels holds the two ladies hostage at gunpoint. After all – they must be ‘witches’, right?


“Nightsiren” is deeply creepy movie that builds slowly to show how superstations and fears can ruin people’s lives. The main story is a ‘fish out of water’ type tale, of the girl who ran away but later decided to come back home. There is a subtext of how the town cannot stand anyone who is ‘different’.


The two lead actresses, Natalia Germani, Eva Mores (playing Sarlota and Mira) are very good. They get the mood set correctly by being concerned about the people in the village, and not knowing what these idiots are capable of doing to them. The location is a beautiful mountain side setting, and the woods are dark and deep. The forest might hold a lot of scary secrets.


“Nightsiren” is in the category of psychological horror, along the lines of “The Witch”, Midsommar’ or “Hereditary”. There are English subtitles for the Slovak dialog. But fear always speaks the same language.

Available on Digital Platforms starting October 24, 2023


Directed by: Tereza Nvotová
Written by: Barbora Namerova, Tereza Nvotová
Starring: Natalia Germani, Eva Mores, Juliana Olhová, Iva Bittová, Jana Olhová
Music by: Robin Coudert, Pjoni
Cinematography by: Federico Cesca
Editing by: Thibault Hague, Pavel Hrdlicka
Released by: Breaking Glass Pictures
Release date: October 24, 2023 (Digital Platforms)
Length: 1 hour 50 minutes
MPAA rating: not rated (but would be rated “R”)
Genre: Psychological Horror
Language: Slovak (with English subtitles)


Rating contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

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