13 Sins (2014)
*** WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS AND PLOT DETAILS OF THE MOVIE ***
Starring: Mark Webber, Ron Perlman, Rutina Wesley.
Running time: 88mins.
Directed By: Daniel Stamm.
I put this Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism) effort on after quickly seeing its trailer and under the horror genre tag. The trailer (link at the end of this review) is actually quite vague, revealing the number 13 a bit, and 13 challenges to be completed for life changing money. I felt underwhelmed at the trailer to be honest, but my partner wanted to view it in favor of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (because she hates “shaky camera” movies. And ultimately what I watched, well in my opinion? 13 Sins was a poor effort.
The premise of the movie has Elliot (Webber, Scott Pilgrim vs the world) a young man about to marry the love of his life (Wesley, HBO’s True Blood), when as fate would dictate his life begins to turn bad, as he loses his job, his sick and cantankerous father is forced to move in with him, and his wife to be is pregnant. His mentally handicapped brother is also forced is in peril as insurance reasons means he may have to be sent back to the institution. Elliot receives a random phone call on his mobile (its ringtone becomes the central theme of the movie and in my opinion a running joke too at the absurdity of the tone. It seriously detracts from the horrific situations it appears in the middle of.
I didn't know what to think of this movie to be honest; it starts off with blood straight away, kind of random in fairness, trying to set the tone for the rest of the film. When we meet our central character at first you kind of root for him, but by the end of it, you really couldn't care less. This is a remake of a Thai horror comedy (13 beloved), and you’d be best off watching the original.
The reviews of 13 Sins have been quite positive, up in the high 70’s on rotten tomatoes and IMDB as well, but I really don’t know why. This movie doesn't know whether it’s a comedy, a thriller or a horror? If the sound track was different this would make a hilarious comedy. There are elements of Saw, the dastardly tasks and Cheap Thrills, offering money for the completion of tasks, but I highly recommend you watching either of those as they do it much better.
Webber in this movie, attempts to do the same thing Pat Healy did so much better in Cheap Thrills, a soft, weak character that under the stress of situations involving large cash amounts becomes a changed man. But his performance is unnatural, it’s not smooth or organic the way Healy’s was in Cheap Thrills. There are a number of scenarios that are just ridiculous. I know watching movies, it asks you to suspend your sense of disbelief, but some of the set ups in this were just down right stupid, and I thought the Benny Hill theme would’ve been appropriate for what was transpiring on screen. Not even Ron Perlman can save this, and his role in the movie is the biggest giveaway of what is going on in the movie. The end of the movie unravels faster than our main characters fragile mental state!
As for the horror elements? There are a couple of squeamish scenes, that really feel shoehorned in just to get the horror rating. But these scenes are pretty cool, and ghoulish to watch. But there’s not enough in this movie for the casual horror fan. It’s a throwaway flick, quick popcorn fare. It’s a perfect entry point for non-hard core horror fans. But for those of us who enjoy and really love our horror movies, this will be immediately one to forget. You really hang in there for the end to find out what the overall payoff is, but you leave it feeling like it lost its way and shaking your head at the eventual outcome.
What I liked: What I didn’t like? : The few gruesome deaths.
What I didn't like: The lead, the story, lack of horror, predictability, illogical story pacing.
If you have an opinion on the movie or my review, feel free to comment below! And especially if you think I’m being overly harsh with this movie!
Al’s rating: 4/10