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The 13th Unit (2014)


Seven strangers find themselves trapped in an underground storage facility, struggling to survive while being hunted by a supernatural beast that resides inside the mysterious 13th unit.


Without doubt, this is micro-budget film making, and the synopsis pretty much tells you all you need to know about the plot. Several groups of people are visiting/working late in an underground storage facility when all hell breaks loose. The film is largely contained in the single location of the facility, and the people there trying to first, work out what is going on, the then second, survive. So plot wise, there is little meat. But that's not a bad thing, is it? How is that different from Carpenter's The Thing?

I'm sure budgetary constraints have much to do with the location. But the location almost feels like a character. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the corridors. The exits that seem to move. The locked doors. Strange signs. By the end of it, I have firmly decided that any storage unit I'm renting will be above ground.

That is where writer / director Theophilus Lacey shines. Without buckets of blood, gore, or special effects, he manages to create something truly creepy.

Low budget efforts generally stutter with some of the players inexperience, but that also seemed to have been dodged here. It's quite the ensemble piece, so it's hard to justify pointing at a protagonist, but some of the stand out performances go to Robbie Daymond (Spider-Man TV Series), Lance Aaron (Da' Wild Boyz of Kilco), and Rocki DuCharme (Say When).

A wise choice is to also avoid trying to bring any sort of "monster" to the screen. Sometimes (especially when working on a tight cash flow) it's best the bad be left to the imagination.

The only real issue I have with the film was the need it felt to address why all the characters were there in the first place. This culminates with a weird hodge podge of flash backs and fowards at the beginning of the film, and it left me somewhat confused as to who, where, and why. I guess there was a need for introductions, but to much back and forth made the opening twenty minutes a little hard.

The film wraps nicely - a little sequel bait, of course - but a satisfying ending, that left me on a high note.

Sure, this is low budget indie horror, but there is worse out there. It does a lot with a little and is worth watching on a Friday night with the lights out.

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