On the 13th of each month, I write about a movie whose title contains the number 13.
13: Game of Death (also known as 13 Beloved), which was apparently a huge hit in Thailand, winning awards and spawning a sequel as well as an American remake, 13 Sins. The remake sticks to the same basic premise, with a downtrodden loser getting a mysterious phone call offering him huge amounts of money to engage in ever-more-depraved acts, starting with something mildly unpleasant and ending in murder. Like the original, 13 Sins has a tough time modulating its tone, shifting from dumb comedy to brutal horror to sappy melodrama, and not finding much success in any of them. 13 Sins also alters and adds to the mythology behind the sinister game, using it to bring in a final-act twist, but not in a way that makes the story more effective or illuminating.
The movie closes on a dumb laugh line that undermines the potential horror of what came before, not that it was all the disturbing to begin with. The higher production values give this version of the story some added gruesomeness (although the infamous shit-eating challenge from the original is left out), but that doesn't give it any added intensity. The original may be inconsistent, but at least it has some vision behind it; this is just an anonymous retread.