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13 Sins (2014)

movie blogathon poster

Eddie from Sidekick Reviews is up today in the ‘Recommended By’ blogathon, sharing his thoughts on 13 Sins.

Director: Daniel Stamm
Starring: Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Rutina Wesley, Ron Perlman

Film and Things which I’ve been following for a while reviewed 13 Sins back in March. Also, Cibarra, whom I co-wrote a few movie reviews with on my blog, was intrigued by 13 Sin’s premise and suggested we check it out.

13 sins movie poster13 Sins is an American remake of a Thai psychological thriller/horror movie, taking elements from David Fincher’s The Game and some bits & pieces so to speak from Saw with varying degrees of success. Here is the synopsis:

A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last. (Source: IMDB)

I’ll start first with the things I liked about 13 Sins. The premise has the potential for increasingly disturbing and suspenseful scenes, just the sort of thing I’d want from a psychological thriller. From the time Elliot gets his first mysterious phone call fifteen minutes in, the pacing is good, there’s no major lull in the story. Even though I worried that this movie would come across as simply a countdown of 13 sins being committed there’s a good flow to how the story unfolds.
Wikipedia describes the movie’s theme as addiction, as in an addiction to the game and Elliot’s new emerging persona. In retrospect I can see that but it wasn’t what I was thinking during the movie. Instead, I liked how it delves into questions like how a good-natured, honest man could be turned into a dark, greedy person. Or maybe an unsettling thought is that there is potential for depravity within most of us which can be unleashed under the right set of circumstances.

Actor Mark Webber plays Elliot, you might recognize him as the lead singer of the band Sex Bob-omb in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. Webber is believable whether he’s portraying the mild-mannered or edgier side to Elliot’s personality. Webber also does a good job at making his character likeable even after he breaks bad. At the same time, credit goes to the screenplay for retaining Elliot’s sympathetic qualities.

13sins

The light humour sprinkled throughout the movie keeps things from being too serious in appropriate situations. But some of the less positive aspects of 13 Sins are the uneven tone and feel. Considering the dark subject matter, 13 Sins could benefit from a more intensely menacing atmosphere in the first half of the movie. Some of the latter scenes do become quite gruesome yet I had to suspend my disbelief to refrain from snickering at times when I wasn’t supposed to. 13 Sins is not a visually striking movie. Higher production values and better cinematography can be found on TV shows like True Detective and Hannibal.

It’s a good decision to focus the movie on Elliot but the rest of the cast is mainly window dressing. True Blood’s Rutina Wesley plays Elliot’s supportive finance. She doesn’t get much to do other than wonder what’s going on with her boyfriend’s erratic behavior. Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman, is the biggest star in the cast. Unfortunately, he has a limited supporting role as a cop trying to solve the recent rash of crimes. Better utilized is the younger mentally challenged brother, he serves as a motivation factor for Elliot to earn extra money to support the family.
13 Sins is not as clever as a movie it hopes to be though I appreciate it when a twist is right under our nose but may not be obvious to everyone. Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that there are a number of dangling or unresolved plot threads. I get the sense that the director intentionally did not want to over explain things. The game itself is meant to be a mystery which can be further explored in a sequel.

13 Sins is far from a failure but it’s not a sensational movie by any means. It’s a pretty decent straight-to-DVD movie. I’d recommend 13 Sins mainly to those who enjoy low-budget thriller movies and while it’s not a total gore-fest, horror fan might like it too.

Reviewed by Eddie from Sidekick Reviews

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for this Eddie!! As I mentioned to you, I actually watched the original version of this. A bit more humorous than this one, though I did like this remake quite a lot actually. Few twists kept me guessing, pretty good film ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I found myself laughing out loud a few times, that was a nice surprise. That’s interesting that the original is a bit more humorous though just watching this remake is enough for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ The twists get kept me guessing too. Thanks a bunch for the opportunity to write for your blog, I’ll definitely be happy to do it again. Cheers!

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  2. “pretty decent straight-to-DVD movie”…

    That pretty much sums this one up! A decent viewing! Always nice to see Ron Perlman, even if his role is limited!

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    • Yeah, this movie isn’t bad at all. The funny parts work pretty well too. Ron Perlman’s got a solid presence even in a handful of scenes. Appreciate you checking out the post and commenting!

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  3. From the director of The Last Exorcism no less! Nice one!

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  4. I enjoyed this one too, without being overly impressed. An effective if not entirely fulfilling piece. Agree in regards to the tonal inconsistency, that does hamper the film. Great review!

    Adam.

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    • I feel the same way, it had some entertaining moments though it’s not a movie I’d rave about. Yeah, for my preference I think the tone and style could use some work. Thanks Adam, appreciate the kind words!

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  5. Sounds like a good idea for a film…too bad it didn’t quite follow through on that expectation. Nice review, Eddie…if I stumble across this somewhere, I’ll check it out!

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    • The idea for the film had me intrigued plus after watching the trailer on Youtube I’d thought I’d give it a chance. Thanks Todd, yeah if you come across this movie it’s a decent one to watch though it could have been executed better.

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  6. Tom

     /  September 9, 2014

    Good stuff Eddie. Might take a gander at this on DVD. Im a fan of the low-budgeted horror, and when you toss in Ron Perlman, how can I really say no? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thanks Tom, appreciate you checking out the review and commenting! Going in with low or mild expectations is probably the best way to go into it, that way maybe it’ll be a pleasant surprise. Having Ron Perlman in the cast added to my interest in checking it out, it’s a yes for me too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Interesting that it’s based off a Thai film. I’d love to watch both . . . sounds intriguing!

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  8. Nice review, Eddie. Kind of like the sound of this. I did like David Fincherโ€™s The Game! : )

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