Thursday, April 04, 2013

13 Eerie is Set on a Body Farm and in Familiar Territory: A Movie Review

Director: Lowell Dean.

Writer: Christian Piers Betley.

Cast: Katharine Isabelle, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher and Nick Moran.

13 Eerie is a zombie thriller. This title was filmed in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in an abandoned animal park. The setting is appropriately isolated. The acting is equally well done. Yet, 13 Eerie follows a few horror formulas, which offer only a few shocks. 13 Eerie still manages to be an entertaining time, despite some drawbacks.

The story involves several forensic students. They are tasked by their teacher and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to examine several corpses on a body farm. They gather evidence and document their findings. But then, the bodies start moving. The students must now find a way off the island, before the corpses dine on them.

The undead are especially ferocious in this piece

And the characters are believable. Katharine Isabelle (American Mary) delivers a compelling performance as Megan. Megan is a fighter and Isabelle is able to bring an action driven performance, to the film. As well, Brendan Fletcher (Rampage) is effective as Josh. Fletcher brings some adlibbing to his performance and his dialogue is the wittiest in the film. Each of the performers brings some passion to their performances.

The setting is equally interesting. Body farms have been seen in television series like "CSI: Miami" and other shows. But, you rarely see them used in film. A body farm is simply a location where decomposition rates are measured. This location gives the many undead denizens space to chase their prey. It is isolated and this setting creates some of the film's horror.

13 Eerie is formulaic, unfortunately. This reviewer has critiqued hundreds of horror films and certain tropes are used repeatedly in horror. First, the characters are isolated by their location e.g. the woods. Then, their communication devices are cut-off. The characters are then exposed to some sort of hostile element. Then, the characters fight back and meet the challenge, or they fall prey to the villains. In 13 Eerie, the characters are cut-off from others because of the setting, the body farm. Then, their cell phones no longer work; they are out of cell phone range. Their walkie talkies stop functioning and the undead begin to walk (a hostile element). The characters manage to overcome the challenge and a few survivors are left remaining into the final credit sequence. 13 Eerie follows these tropes to a tee and most horror fans will not be surprised by the direction the film takes.

Still, 13 Eerie manages to be entertaining and even fun. The ending seems a little extended, but the climax is action packed. The actors each deliver something unique. And, the setting of a body farm is an interesting place for a horror film to take place. Zombie indie film fans will especially like this outing, despite the predictability.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (a solid production, good make-up, lots of well shot night shooting, good characters).

*this title was released on DVD April 2nd, 2013.

**the director has mentioned that a prequel might be shot, called 13 Eerier.

The film's fan page is here:

13 Eerie on Facebook

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