Sunday, October 13, 2013

Triskaidekaphilia: '13/13/13' (2013)

On the 13th of each month, I write about a movie whose title contains the number 13.

Leave it to the folks at mockbuster factory The Asylum to run a gimmick into the ground. After releasing 11/11/11 in 2011 (coinciding with Darren Lynn Bousman's more high-profile but still fairly obscure 11-11-11), they followed that up with 12/12/12 last year, and, having run out of actual triplicate datelines, just decided to barrel ahead anyway with 13/13/13. The three movies are related only thematically, each with plots dealing with the sinister nature of their titular dates. But 13/13/13 isn't an actual date, you say? No problem. Writer-director James Cullen Bressack comes up with a nonsensical explanation about leap year and how after 120 years, it was meant to create a new month. Therefore the movie takes place on what is theoretically the 13th day of the new 13th month in 2013.

Why exactly this day causes everyone in the world to turn into violent maniacs is never explained, however. Apparently this leap year magic is only ineffective on people who were born on February 29, which conveniently includes main character Jack (Trae Ireland). Jack also keeps seeing visions of the number 13 pop up everywhere, although these ostensibly prophetic images turn out to have no relevance whatsoever. He teams up with one other leap year baby (played by Asylum regular Erin Coker, who was also in 11/11/11) who's also immune to the craziness, but otherwise the whole leap year thing seems like a random afterthought as an excuse to justify the title (which was certainly developed before the plot). Sadly, Leap Day William doesn't make an appearance.

It's not like the suspense or scares make up for the nonsensical mythology; staging a worldwide apocalypse on a tiny budget isn't easy, and Bressack can only muster tiny groups of homicidal freaks at any given time. The acting, as is expected for an Asylum production, is uniformly terrible, with Ireland severely overdoing it on Jack's angst. Character motivations come and go at random, and the movie ends so abruptly that you wonder if the filmmakers just ran out of money. Pretty much the only thing to hope for out of The Asylum is a bit of camp, but Bressack plays things disappointingly straight. A horror movie about leap year seems like a prime candidate for self-aware comedy, but there's none to be found here. Maybe they're saving it for 14/14/14.

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