THE 13TH FRIDAY (2017)

Directed by:
Written by:
Starring: , ,

UK Release Date – TBC

Well then, if there was ever a title to get lost in the shuffle in a movie name search it was this. On top of that if you’re actually expecting a slasher movie with any resemblance to a certain lakeside horror series, you’re in for a bit of a let down. There are no stalk and kill scenes to be found here I’m afraid. But then, what is this exactly? Well let’s just say it’s a jumbled mash up of all kinds other films, mostly supernatural. However it doesn’t really want to emulate any of them very well. When you start to wish they’d just rip-off one idea and actually do it properly then that’s when you know things are bad.

A group of friends drinking outside a derelict house sit around making some rather stiff conversation with each other. There’s relationship melodrama brewing, but don’t worry none of it is important. One of the gang heads inside randomly and discovers The Calendar, a mysterious orb. Another member of the group stands outside and tells a pretty lacklustre story about Satanic powers and missing children. But the tale is interrupted by screams from inside, and soon they all become the victims of a sinister curse.

There are a lot of problems immediately from the cheap effects to the bad ADR dialogue. The supposedly old and abandoned house is also strangely clean. In fact it’s really well decorated and nicely furnished, with a good amount of lighting inside. The other issues come in when it becomes very apparent that film makers weren’t sure what kind of story to tell. The mystic sphere is part Hellraiser and part Phantasm, and the haunted house setup has bits of Ju-On: The Grudge as well as a few possession tropes going on. A strange ghost coated in black paint sometimes appears, and sometimes there are other visions like plates of food becoming worms.

The big storyline for what it’s worth, concerns the orb opening up to reveal a 13 month countdown. On the outside it looks like a cheap plaster prop, but inside is cheaper CGI device with moving clockwork. The group will be doomed if they don’t appease it by sacrificing 13 innocent people. There’s a lot of other silly and often tedious exposition about ancient calendars having more months (lousy Smarch weather!) and then something about the fall of Satan from Paradise. However the whole thing seems to have been made without anyone realising the obvious — a group of people killing others and dealing with the psychological consequences would have been way more interesting than any ridiculous Biblical nonsense.

Lisa May

They could have at least made the story about them forcing each other to commit the murders and questioning their own moral fibre. Instead we get a lot of poor acting as people feel vaguely concerned about what they’ve done, a bunch of (attempts at) jump scares, and several odd sequences in a tourist cave populated by Smeagol look-a-likes. They do try showing Allison (Lisa May) having problems and contacting the victim’s families to appease her guilty conscience in secret, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Nobody is ever that disturbed by these events which are all shown in a brief death montage near the start – which is the only interesting sequence in the whole affair.

Elsewhere there’s not one but two reporter subplots with people investigating all of this, and more random deaths that fail to provide any shock value or atmosphere. Even scenes inside the spooky mansion are flat and dry without any suspense. Weird noises are heard, visions are had, and ghosts pop up here and there. They steal that silhouette bit from the short film (and the subsequent feature) Lights Out without any real purpose. Even that bar scene from Inception where the patrons all start staring shows up for some reason. Just throw it all in there guys, don’t worry about writing any actual character drama or a compelling series of events.

The uneven, random nature of the film becomes really exhausting after just a short amount of time. Without a solid core idea or even any kind of real protagonist it’s just a lot of weird copy cat moments and lots of wooden performances. If you’re looking for a film about weird arcane artefacts, cursed houses occupied by angry spirits, a story about cults, or just a movie with people doing questionable things under duress then pick one. It’s got to be more fun than this.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

About Mocata 113 Articles
A sucker for classic epics, 80s science fiction and fantasy kitsch, horror, action, animation, stop motion, world cinema, martial arts and all kinds of assorted stuff and nonsense. If you enjoy a bullet ballet, a good eye ball gag or a story about time travelling robots maybe we can be friends after all.

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