12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A By-The-Numbers Horror Effort That Strands A Likable Cast With Relatively No Story,
This review is from: 13 Eerie (DVD)
The Canadian horror movie "13 Eerie" is a bit of a throw back to old school horror films. It strands an attractive cast in a desolate location with a preposterous premise and then starts to pick them off one at a time. There are some good effects, some cheesy make-up, and plenty of escalating gore. In some ways, I want to reward the movie for being exactly what it wants to be. It doesn't have lofty goals or ambitions. It just wants to provide some scares and entertainment. On the other hand, there is no pretext of a story and barely any characterizations. A contrived set-up leads to a situation that you've seen a hundred times before, and oftentimes better. I wanted something to really make this stand out from the overcrowded pack! What "13 Eerie" has is a cast of fairly recognizable (and even likable) faces. This better than average cast includes Katherine Isabelle, Michael Shanks, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher, Jesse Moss and Nick Moran. All have scored in other film and TV projects, so I'm not sure why the screenplay spent so little time actually creating people you might want to know and/or care about. And in the end, the characters became relatively interchangeable and I wasn't invested in the body count or who might or might not survive.
The movie has a grisly (although incredibly silly) premise. Six undergrads in a forensics program are taking a field test to qualify for a position with the FBI. Their instructor, an appropriately brusque Shanks, sets up three test sites with actual carnage. Nice. Of course, due to health concerns, this disgusting exam has to be set up in an abandoned prison where rumors of horrible genetic experiments have set tongues wagging. Naturally. Let's just say that something is still around and it's hungry. Why would someone bring a buffet of young flesh if it wasn't meant to be eaten? The creatures are genetically altered, I suppose, but also react like typical zombies. It's not a particularly well thought out (or explained) mythology, you just kind of have to go with it. The movie takes a while to get going, but about half way through--things really start to escalate.
I guess that's my biggest complaint. Only the adults (represented by the instructor and the caretaker) feel distinct. If the movie was going to employ a slow build strategy, that's a good time to get the audience to invest in the characters. When the kids start fighting for their lives, I wanted to feel a part of the action. I honestly didn't care who lived or died. The movie does commit to a relentless wackiness that makes the second half much better. But still, nothing feels unique. This has a nostalgic quality and an old-fashioned presentation that are pleasing enough. If you had a chance to see this for free and you're into this genre, I'd say go for it. But it's a little harder to recommend this as a DVD purchase. I've watched it once, I probably won't revisit it anytime soon. About 2 1/2 stars. I'll round up due to the fact that I genuinely like the actors. KGHarris, 3/13.