Thursday, 21 September 2017

13 Eerie (2013)


Yeah, let's do our final practical exam on real dead bodies. On remote marshland. And that's not a spoiler.


13 Eerie


This film is better than the cover suggests. Actually, it's better than it deserves to be.

Synopsis

Six forensic undergrads embark on a scientific expedition to a remote island that was once used as illegal biological testing grounds for life-term prisoners.

Review

First off, I'll get point out the elephant in the room. Yes, this is directed by the same guy who did Wolfcop. Yes. I love Wolfcop. 

Anyway.

From the outset, 13 Eerie feels generic. Michael Shanks (Stargate) plays Tomkins, a professor of forensics, who is setting up fake death scenes on a marshland island for his students to autopsy. Initially, his only companion is Larry (Nick Moran) who while playing his part with aplumb, is fundamentally exposition/maguffin fodder. The first fifteen minutes is just the viewer going, "So there's going to be zombies, right?" Yeah. Generic.

Then the "teens" turn up. Lead by Katharine Isabelle (American Mary), the group consists of a fairly standard set of will-die/won't die archetypes.  

Larry finds a dead body, that they didn't bring with them, and the dead start to walk.

So plot wise there isn't a lot to work with. 

Michael Shanks, who at first seemed like he was going to get the ball rolling and then be first kill (getting the adults out of the way, so to speak) has a far meatier part. And he's a good solid actor. He can shoulder most of the movie, with the rest being held up by Katharine Isabelle - a now seasoned horror actor. Most of the rest of the group are pretty good with some recognizable faces. Which is one of the problems - and a recurring one within the industry.


"Teens"
  
Brendan Fletcher (above center) I immediately recognized from Freddy Vs Jason, where he played "teen" Mark. In 2003. In fact of the six undergraduates, most are nearer forty than thirty. Michael Shanks was in his early forties. Now I'd rather pay to see older, good, actors, than ambitious - if talentless - teen scream queens in my films, but it jars against the overall feel of the movie. But, rant over, moving on.

The gore is undoubtedly impressive - especially on such a small budget. The movie has enough squick to keep an old gore hound like me going, and it's mostly practical. Which is nice. The direction is good. Lowell Dean is carving a good career.


Zombie. Sort of.

What works so well is the pace of the film. It doesn't hang around, and after the zombie arrive moves quickly from scene to scene.

But by far the best aspect of the film is the actions (and reactions) of the cast. There isn't a lot of "running upstairs to get away". And that sets it apart. The film is written so well. Generic teen starts waving a gun around? Accidentally shoots boyfriend. It's rarely seen in these movies that people act as people act. People panic. People can't all use guns like Rambo. People flail. And stab. And hide.

Writers get a bum rap. No one ever considers them. Christian Piers Betley gets a pat on the back. He also wrote Stranded with Christian Slater. I liked Stranded.

If you're looking for a fun, good, horror flick, I can't recommend this more.





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