film review – 13 Sins

13 Sins, the remake of 2006’s Thai film 13 Beloved, stars Mark Webber as Elliot, a man in financial straits who receives a phone call and is offered an opportunity: to participate in a game and make some money. It all starts innocently enough, with him having to swat a fly, but before long the severity of what’s asked of Elliot ramps up, as one would expect from a horror film. Elliot’s dilemma: to quit and forfeit all he’s gained, or to see the game through to the end.

Webber’s Elliot is a likable protagonist, a sympathetic character looking after his mentally disabled brother and on the verge of marriage and fatherhood. We understand he needs the money and therefore the temptation of the phone call. In other words: Webber sells the premise and does a wonderful job with the journey his character eventually goes through. The supporting cast, with among others the always reliable Ron Perlman and True Blood‘s Rutina Wesley, does a fine job too, but unfortunately the actors are let down by the material.

The film start off light enough, blending humor, thriller elements and horror, but it loses track of that along the way. 13 Sins starts taking itself way too seriously and by doing so its spark is dimmed. In addition the tasks Elliot has to perform become rather unimaginative halfway through the movie, which is shame because some of the earlier ones play rather nicely. One involving a nurse takes its time for example, effectively building tension. Unfortunately the resolve to the situation is quite bland, which is the problem with the entire film: there are some moments of greatness but it often takes the easy, predictable and unoriginal way out. During its best moments 13 Sins captures the paranoia which made David Fincher’s much better movie The Game so excellent, but most of the time its more akin to a cheap Saw franchise knock-off.

13 Sins doesn’t live up to its potential. There are some good moments there, but in the end it’s just another mediocre horror flick. 5/10

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