Saturday, July 20, 2013

13 Eerie

In my review of WorldWar Z I stated that in my opinion the movie should not have worked. Big budget + big star + big problems behind-the-scenes + PG-13 rating = a disaster in the making. Strangely enough the movie worked for me on many levels and was a pleasant surprise for the summer of 2013.

So here we are now with 13 Eerie, a low budget Canadian zombie film featuring a cast of recognizable, yet not-ready-for-primetime players and no rating restriction. This movie had genre gold written all over it! Unfortunately that ended up not being the case at all…
A professor (Michael Shanks) takes a group of forensic undergrads (Katherine Isabel, Brendan Fehr, Kristie Patterson, Brendan Fletcher, Jesse Moss, Michael Eisner) to the abandoned island known as the Eerie Strait for an evaluation of their skills. Little do they know that the island was once the site of gruesome biological experiments on death row inmates that has turned them into bloodthirsty zombies.

So we have a cheesy set up, a group of good looking twenty-something actors and a huge outdoor playground where the gory goodness will go down. All the pieces are there for a fun time at the movies, but unfortunately the script is the one chunk of the puzzle that it missing. This thing is ridiculously stupid and features some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen for a movie of this type. Yes, even worse than some of those goofy Italian horror movies from the 80s.
Here’s an example - One character, while running away from a zombie through the woods, gets stuck in a very lightly thorned bush. She pretty much stays there waiting for the zombie to catch up and eat her. I’m talking looking behind her to see how far away the other actor was in an impatient fashion which said to me “I can’t keep screaming all night you bitch. Hurry your punk ass up!”  I in turn was screaming at the screen, “Fuck your t-shirt! Take it off and run dumbass!” There’s a lot of dumb shit like this floating around in 13 Eerie. I won’t go into them all for the sake of my sanity.

Although this scene in particular probably wasn’t written exactly the way it’s presented in the finished film, it was the director who turned it into the insanely ridiculous joke that it ends up being. This is director Lowell Dean’s first feature and it shows. While he does get some decent performances out of his cast (Katherine Isabel is always on point no matter how shitty the flick) and wrings some tension out of a couple of the lame set-ups, he has no real style and relies on overblown gore to sell the horror and not genuine scares. When faced with a problematic scene, like the one I described above, he just seems to back off and pray for the best. Sorry dude, that’s not how you make a film.
I enjoyed the idea behind the zombies being death row inmates that were experimented on, so the script isn’t a complete bust. There are a limited amount of zombies (if I recall correctly it was a trio) and each of them has a particular style about them. If the director got one thing right it’s that he gave the zombies a bit of personality which allows the audience to tell one from the other through their similar make-up. Seeing Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1) in a film is always a treat since he’s a very likable actor. Casting horror vets like Brendan Fehr and Brendan Fletcher was also a nice touch since they know their way around this genre about as much as Isabel (Fletcher and Isabel starred in Freddy vs. Jason together). Some of the kills were gruesome and the make-up was decent.

It’s just too bad the aspects that make a movie watchable were left to the curb. The dialogue is horrid, the characters are mostly written as douchebaggy idiots that don’t have an ounce of self-preservation or common sense between them (except Isabel’s character since she’s the lead). The deaths are predictable and are telegraphed in advance via inane direction. The cinematography is capable in some scenes and unintelligible in others. The editing is horrible as well. The thorn bush scene could have been mildly suspenseful if only it were cut differently.
Long story short, the inexperience of the filmmakers brought this project crashing down upon itself in the worst way imaginable. I understand it was a low budget indie horror movie, but I’ve seen plenty of films that fall into that category go beyond their restrictions and become something special and notable. This was not one of those films. It’s amateurish, boring and a waste of time. And the anticlimactic ending – the diarrhea icing on this shit cake.

0.5 out of 5

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