By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
I found it to be a strange coincidence that my first midnighter of this year’s festival is very similar to midnighter that began my festival last year. Last year I was treated to the shock and awe of Cheap Thrills which I still applaud to this day. 13 Sins, on the other hand, takes an almost identical premise, but gets even more absurd and far fetched that I had some trouble buying all that happens.
A mild-mannered and weak salesman named Elliott (Mark Webber) is in a tough spot in life. He is engaged and about to become a father, but cannot afford to support his new family, cantankerous elderly father, and his mentally challenged brother (Devon Graye). When he receives a mysterious phone call offering him cash prizes in exchange for thirteen tasks, he can hardly resist in the beginning. The problem is each task becomes more malevolent and perverse than the previous ones.
Writer/director Daniel Stamm and co-writer David Birke do succeed in making this film thrilling, often keeping their audience on the edge of their seats. The problem is the whole idea of the conspiracy behind this game and “their” ability and ease to infiltrate these people’s lives gets a little too over-the-top beyond the point of credibility. On the positive side, the actors, particularly Mark Webber and Devon Graye deliver fantastic performances. The movie also stars Ron Perlman who is always a badass and welcome presence in films.