BUY FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Entertainment One
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
• Making of Featurettes
• Photo Gallery
• Audio Commentary with Director and Producer
Six forensics students embark to a mysterious island for some hands-on experience. They wind up getting their hands bit off!
Directed by Lowell Dean, written by Christian Piers Betley, starring Katharine Isabelle, Michael Shanks, Brendan Fletcher, and Nick Moran.
Whatta case of blue balls this one gave me. 13 Eerie starts out great and sets itself up to be a creepy little mystery-horror film. Instead, all story and emotion is thrown away for scene after scene of zombies feasting on organs. There are lots of impaling but none of it impelling.
The DTV thriller 13 Eerie is a perfect example of a horror film that takes a fairly interesting concept and then tosses it aside to make way for some cheap scares and gore. The first 15 minutes or so are really entertaining and set up a frigid, creepy atmosphere ripe for frights and intrigue – then everything goes to shit.
A group of six young forensics students travel with their professor to a secluded island to engage in some hands-on experience. The professor has set up three corpses in various states of decomposition and the students split up into teams of two to examine them. The team who “wins” gets an internship. I’m not sure how they win, exactly, but it’s not really important.
With them on the island is a caretaker/chef named Larry. He’s played by Nick Moran (Scabior from Harry Potter) who looks kinda like British Warren Oates in this film. He’s a great actor and easily the highlight here. While the students are hunched over decomposing corpses and the professor is watching them via CCTV, Larry is smoking dope, grilling up some chickens. When two birds disappear off the grill, Larry begins to fear the rumors about the island may be true.
See, the island used to house a prison for folks on death row. Since the inmates were just waiting around to die anyway, scientists were permitted to perform various shady experiments on them. Now there are whispers of the undead stalking through the woods. This may be the first account of them stealing chickens though. It’s not a very detailed back story, but what the hell. The atmosphere adds a lot and the filmmakers got really lucky with the location.
There’s a great reveal that proves there’s something supernatural going down on the island. Larry is looking around for the missing chickens and he comes across a rotting corpse lying in an old shed. He just thinks it’s one of the professor’s tests for the students, but he’s still a little freaked – what with the missing chickens and all. It’s confirmed that the professor only dumped three corpses, but nobody believes poor Larry’s tall tales of a fourth corpse and prison experiments.
Once the undead prisoners or zombies or whatever start their warpath, the movie gets rather dull. Up until then, the film sets itself up to be a cool little mystery-horror film. It’s got great atmosphere and it does build up a creeping sense of dread. It would’ve been great if the film pursued more of a mystery approach – the kids are wannabe forensics investigators, for chrissakes! Have them investigate something!
Then zombies start biting people’s necks and hands off and all story, finesse, and emotion is violently stripped away to be patched over with relentless gore. And it all unravels completely by-the-numbers too. The makeup and gore does look really great – I’ll give em that. The zombies themselves have an effectively scary, charred burn victim look with tribal tattoos for that real douchebag finish.
With the exception of one stock character who’s a condescending brat, all of the students manage to be tolerable – some, even likable. Seasoned genre actress Katherine Isabelle (American Mary) delivers a great, bitchy performance. Brendan Fletcher, star of Uwe Boll’s underrated Rampage, delivers a terrific performance as Josh, a level-headed guy with a damn near unshakable fight-or-flight instinct. I’ve sung Fletcher’s praises on CHUD before in my review of Citizen Gangster, and he’s definitely worthy of acclaim in Eerie 13 for elevating an otherwise bland cast of kids. The guy just makes other actors better, y’know?
Unfortunately, Fletcher can’t elevate the film from the forgettable gorefest it is. Avoid this one.
Cue butt-rock music, roll credits.
Making of: 23 minutes of interviews with producers, the director, and actors. They did a crazy amount of pre-production, complete with animated storyboards and “zombie action school.” The gang also discusses their approach to zombies and the stunts. Overall it’s an insightful look at the film.
Commentary track with director Lowell Dean and producer Mark Montague: The duo cover the usual ground of conception, production, casting, etc. The original concept took place in a jungle area, which wouldn’t have been as eerie, and with a name like 13 Eerie, you gotta set it in the woods. Director Dean reflects on shooting in an abandoned zoo and how it was his first “real” production. It’s a lively commentary with nary a pause.
There’s also a photo gallery.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars