Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher, Nick Moran, Michael Shanks
Directed by: Lowell Dean
Written by: Christian Piers Betley
Running time: 87 minutes
Rated: R (for language and extreme graphic violence)
Canadian director Lowell Dean seems to have a bright future ahead of him in the movie business. This first time director has crafted an extremely taut and suspenseful monster movie in 13 Eerie. The aim of 13 Eerie was to fashion a throwback 80’s monster movie and by golly, Dean and company hit the nail squarely on the head. There have been so many zombie movies to come out within the last several years and although I really love zombies, it almost gets to the point where you get tired of seeing them in film after film where nothing new is introduced. There have been very few films as of late that have gotten the zombie thing right, in fact, I can count the great ones on both hands with the rest of them being boring retreads of the same story only with fresh faces.
Writer Christian Piers Betley and director Dean have managed to do something quite amazing with the zombie-like creatures in 13 Eerie; they have given us something to freshen up the stale sub-genre.
In 13 Eerie, we are introduced to six forensic undergrad students, who are all in competition to win a training position with the FBI. The students and their teacher arrive at a remote island for their training exercise that used to be the home of a top-secret prison facility where unbeknownst to all, life-term criminals were illegally tested on with biological experiments.
Leading the exercise is Professor Tomkins (Michael Shanks- Stargate SG-1) as he sets up a series of tests for his students Megan (Katharine Isabelle- American Mary, Ginger Snaps), Daniel (Brendan Fehr-Silent Night, Final Destination), Josh (Brendan Fletcher-Freddy vs. Jason), and Patrick (Jesse Moss-Final Destination 3), to analyze the group on their forensic skills. Cadavers taken from the now shut down secret facility 13 Eerie are used for the student’s forensic training.
As the students begin their exercises, something unspeakable happens with the cadavers as they come back to life with only one thing in mind, to literally tear everyone to pieces. These life-term criminal cadavers begin to hunt the group one by one with a hunger for blood and these FBI students are now in a fight to survive.
The official synopsis describes these creatures as zombie mutant convicts, after watching the film; I would classify these creatures as mutant monsters with zombie-like tendencies. These things are very similar to zombies and I can see why, but personally, I would not call them zombies. They were created from biological testing, not some unknown virus or act of God. Whatever you want to call these things, they are cool as hell.
As I said before, Lowell Dean has directed one hell of a great movie in 13 Eerie. He has taken an already great story and made it his own. It’s shot well, edited well, and it looks incredibly good for a low budget horror piece. The highlight of this film is obviously the monsters, and they are showcased with some excellent FX work from Emersen Ziffle and his team. These mutant monsters are incredibly cool creations and you need not worry about the gore quotient in the film because these things are brutal in their attacks. I was impressed with the amount of gore in this film, I was literally cheering at the screen every time these creatures tore into someone.
Kudos to the filmmakers for assembling a great young cast for this film. The actors are Canadian up and comers who do a great job in the film. Standouts are Katharine Isabelle and Brendan Fehr as the leads. After Katharine’s award worthy role in this year’s earlier American Mary film, and her performance in 13 Eerie, she has cemented her status as horror royalty.
The only gripe I have about the film is that there really is no backstory for why these monsters are returning to life and exactly what kind of experiments were performed on them. Knowing this would give viewers a better understanding as to what might be happening. It’s not a major detractor for the film’s enjoyment, but knowing more would’ve been nice.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed 13 Eerie and have to say, it’s one of the better monster movies I’ve seen so far this year. While the filmmakers were trying to establish an 80’s throwback feel to the film, they have achieved an amazingly accurate retro vibe on almost all fronts for this creature feature. I can’t recommend 13 Eerie enough for anyone looking for a great story, acting, suspense, and above all, some really cool creatures with buckets of blood thrown in for good measure, this one’s a must see!
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