Thursday, March 13, 2014

Triskaidekaphilia: '13 Eerie' (2013)

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

Although the title of 13 Eerie does actually refer to something in the movie, it still comes off like one of those low-budget genre movies that added the number 13 to its title to make it seem more menacing (as I have mentioned before). Theoretically, the title is the designation for the plot of land where a forensic science professor (Michael Shanks) is conducting his final field exam for a group of six students. It's part of the grounds of abandoned penitentiary Eerie State, presumably the 13th sector in the area. The professor's exam involves strategically placing dead bodies in various places on the grounds, and then having his students examine them to determine the cause of death. I kind of doubt that real forensic science courses actually involve this sort of exam, although I suppose that if people donate their bodies to science, maybe they are okay with having them molested by forensic science students in a random field somewhere. I'm not entirely sure that these bodies were donated, though, since the professor's colleague tells him at the beginning of the movie that the exam better not take too long, because the bodies have to be returned to the morgue.

Whether it's realistic or not, it's kind of a clever setup for a zombie movie, which of course is completely botched. Wouldn't it be scary if the supposedly dead bodies that the students are working on suddenly came back to life and attacked? Yes, that would be scary, but that's not what happens here. Instead, there are some zombies just hanging around the area, apparently waiting for some students to show up so they can be eaten. The zombies are remnants of some vaguely defined experiments that occurred at the prison many years ago, before it was shut down. So they stalk the students while the asshole professor denies that anything weird is happening and orders the students to get back to work. Eventually after a couple of the students get zombified, the professor acknowledges that bad shit is going down, and he teams up with the students to run away from the zombies.

That's about all there is to this movie. The characters are less than one-dimensional, and the interesting setup dealing with forensic science is pretty much abandoned once the zombie attacks start (it's not like the students use their scientific knowledge to defeat the zombies, which would be interesting). The acting is serviceable, and the cast includes C-listers like scream queen Katharine Isabelle and former Roswell star Brendan Fehr. The effects are decent for a low-budget production, but there's nothing particularly creative or gruesome. The second half devolves into some rote running and fighting, and the ending is laughably abrupt. What starts out as somewhat creative quickly becomes generic and forgettable.

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