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Review: Justin Price’s The 13th Friday

What do you get when you cross Hellraiser with The Grudge? You get Justin Price’s new horror-drama, The 13th Friday, which is a tamer version of both flicks. And that’s OK. A movie doesn’t need to be all shock & awe and in my face to hold my attention, but it does need to contain the right pacing. That’s what this film, produced by Price, Khu and Mr. X, is lacking and is ultimately its biggest downfall. The 13th Friday opens with a slow start before immediately jumping into the action and hitting the gas pedal to horror drive. Then, it gradually slows down in intensity and finishes at a moderately average pace. When it needs to be scary, it delivers, but anything outside of that is… well, boring. I had to hit fast forward a few times.

Lisa May, Deanna Grace Congo, Jose Zuniga, Antonio Villarreal, Melissa Vega, Victoria Valdez, Joseph Daniel Ellis, Khu, David Cazares, Jeff Moore and Kristina Rev star in this horror-drama that follows an ancient demon that’s released from a magical sphere and possesses a young woman who dwells in a haunted house that was cursed on a Friday the 13th. Oh, yeah. You read that right. A lot is going on here. When medicine and the Catholic church fail to help the young woman, it’s up to a thrill seeking group of friends to unlock the mysteries and put an end to all the urban legends that are plaguing their inner circle. The supernatural meets survival horror in this feature film from writer/director Justin Price.

Despite a cool concept and story-line, The 13th Friday really drops the ball when it comes to actual content. Again, it drags. It drags so bad, and that sucks because it had all the right elements in place to be an invigorating mash-up movie with awesome poster art. As I said above, I don’t mind the fact that it wasn’t the goriest, scariest, most badass movie on the block. But I wanted something to hold my attention. And that just wasn’t delivered. Adding a little action & adventure to the mix to spruce up the down time & character development would have greatly improved this flick. I think this is most reflected in the performances from the actors. None of them seem properly worried or upset when they were on screen, almost like they were two notches below the required emotional level because they desired to be back on Facebook. The copious amounts of cleavage couldn’t save the lackluster performances.

Still, I found some level enjoyment while watching The 13th Friday, which features cinematography from Khu and editing from Mr. X. First and foremost, the possession scene at the beginning is extremely effective and one of the best demon takeover scenes you’ll find in independent cinema. Absolutely adored it. I liked that Justin Price mashed-up two well known movies while adding his own original flair with the hometown urban legend. The special effects, both digital and practical, had this movie on lock. The creepy clown looking monks were pretty scary, and those responsible for the diner scene get a tremendous round of applause. The spirit walking around the restaurant was suspenseful, and after post-production edits it contains an almost 3D effect. Throw in a creepy hospital hallway scene that may or may not be an homage to The Exorcist 3 and, yeah, this movie had a lot going for it. If the script matched every other department of production, I could have rated this one much higher. Rating this one is a little difficult but… Final Score: 6 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)