A band holds up in a old run down theater to record their new album and discovers a twisted art gallery that foretells each of their deaths. Sounds like it could be an interesting right? This struck me as kind of a Clive Barker-esque idea so my curiosity was automatically piqued. Yeah, sounds like is right. In action, this movie is a sloppy mess of bad acting and half-baked ideas with not enough fright factor.
First off, I gave this movie the benefit of the doubt. I knew going in that it was an indie flick but I didn’t realize it was so indie it may actually be the first thing anyone involved in this project may have worked on…ever. The actors range in ability from “this one time in high school I took drama as an elective for one semester” to straight up reading cue cards off camera. I’ve actually seen cardboard boxes with a wider range of emotions. Also, who the fuck dressed these guys? They’re supposed to be a rock band but they look like they’re on the way to a Magic the Gathering tournament. Not saying all musicians need to dress like street punks or Libarce, but really, shirt’s with flames on them? Who’s idea of “cool” is that? Believe me when I say these guys look like they spend more time hanging out at the local comic shop debating Powergirls’ cup size than rocking out on a stage.
I also found the movie to be unnecessary dark most of the time. And not dark in the something’s-lurking-in-the-shadows kind of way. I mean dark as in the fuck-man-turn-some-lights-on-in-here way. I can only assume this was a conscious choice (probably due to budget constraints and only being able to afford one light) and while it occasionally does add to some of the spookier, supernatural elements of this film, more often than not I found myself straining to decipher what exactly was going on,who was talking and where they were.
With that load of negative points off my chest, I’d like to add that when this movie does eventually pick up (about 45 cruel minutes in) it shows off some kills that are both disturbing, somewhat original and bloody, which helps (mildly) to justify the time you’ve already invested watching this. But honestly, a few neat gore effects do not a good film make (you needs loads of gore if you’re going to go down that route!) and 13 Seconds falls short on too many points for me to really even recommend it to the most open-minded indie loving horror fan. There’s much better fare out there in the same budgetary bracket that would easily be both more satisfying and less painful to watch.