13 Sins has been on my radar for a while. I was a huge fan of The Last Exorcism, so I was glad to see a new Dimension horror film from director Daniel Stamm. The one thing that concerned me was the familiarity(or so I thought) of the plot, with films like the amazing Cheap Thrills, and the average Would You Rather being recently released. Thankfully, 13 sins was extremely clever in the way that it differentiates itself from films of a similar subject matter. Yes, somebody is doing crazy things for money, but the mastermind, rather than a coked-up David Koechner, up in your face, fully aware of who the “bad guy” of the film is, is a mysterious voice on the phone, and nothing more. We don’t know who is orchestrating the events in the film, or even why. We don’t know how many people are involved in the conspiracy, what their level of involvement is, nor do we know how messed up the things they are being extorted into doing will be. It takes the core concept, and adds a thick level of paranoia, making it a beast of its own creation.
About The Film:
Elliot (Mark Webber, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is a bright but meek social services coordinator, drowning in debt and desperate because he’s about to marry the love of his life (Rutina Wesley, HBO’s “True Blood”). Upon receiving a cryptic phone call informing him that he’s on a hidden camera game show where he must execute 13 tasks, Elliot learns he will be on his way to winning a multimillion dollar cash prize if he quickly follows through with his first two instructions: swat the fly that is currently bothering him and then eat the fly. Although thousands of dollars are suddenly appearing in his bank account, Elliot remains suspicious, though comforted by the knowledge that he can stop playing at any time if only to lose every penny that he’s won. As he leaves a path of destruction behind him and runs away from the law (Ron Perlman,Hellboy), Elliot’s need to complete the game escalates as the tasks grow increasingly sinister, to a devastating point of no return.
The main character is played by Mark Webber; who you will recognize even if you have no idea from where, and he does a great job making the character believable. Some of the things he is asked to do are well-beyond the confines of reality, but the way in which he is manipulated into doing so, and Webber’s performance make the sale. There is a solid supporting cast as well, including Ron Perlman; that plays the detective assigned to the case, and Rutina Wesley(Tara on True Blood) as Webber’s character’s pregnant future-wife. I realize that this is a relatively low budget film, being released mostly straight-to-home video, but it definitely looks and feels bigger than it is. Based on what I was expecting before I finally sat down to watch it, this is probably one of the bigger surprises of the year for me so far. If you are looking for something a little different, and impressively entertaining, I urge you to take a chance on 13 Sins. The Blu-ray and DVD will be available on Tuesday, June 17th, and is being released by Starz/Anchor Bay.