Directed by: James Cullen Bressack
There has been a steady progression in the directorial career of James Cullen Bressack, a man usually full of clever ideas, but lacking the budget to execute them. His latest film ‘13/13/13’ is in a similar vein to ’28 Days Later’, but with a Mayan calendar twist. It is a tale of lunacy and madness that stutters along without a satisfying payoff.
I’m going to choose to ignore the opening scene because it is the kind of dredge you’d find in a ‘Paranormal Activity’ movie trailer, and jump straight to the traditional American camping trip with the boys. Four old buddies are regaling each other with urban legends. One of them, a bloke named Jack notices his digital military watch has changed to 13/13/13. He isn’t happy with this and accuses his buddies of tampering with his knock off Casio. Maybe the watch was made in Taiwan?
Jack is going through a divorce, and he calls home to check on his twelve year old daughter Kendra. The demon child is behaving oddly, showing all the hallmarks of a serial killer by eating a small spider. Inside the house Jack and the boys find Jack’s estranged ex-wife Marcy working hard on those dishes in the kitchen. At that moment I found it surprising that a house of that size doesn’t have a dishwasher. When Jack’s curiosity gets the better of him and he gets a closer look at what Marcia is doing, he discovers an unsightly gash on her wrist.
Being the doting kind of ex-hubby Jack escorts Marcy to hospital. Every staff member in A&E is stressed and on the verge of meltdown; so, nothing strange there then. But things do take a turn for the worse, when Marcy begins to behave irrationally. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but if you know Bressack’s work then it will involve a lot of blood.
Meanwhile at home little Kendra matures early into a cold eyed killer and bashes the skull of one of Jack’s pals onto the front yard concrete. She then runs away. The film flicks back from Jack in the hospital to events at his ex-wife’s home, until Jack returns home with a woman named Candace who he picked up at the hospital.
Looking at the acting in display, Trae Ireland is alright at playing Jack, the resourceful hero, Jody Barton plays unhinged pretty well as one of Jack’s pals, but everyone else either seems on the edge of fluffing their lines or overdosing on hysteria. The best example of this is when a jacked to the gills meathead fellow in a car park goes hillariously berserk, yet despite the unsightly purple veins in his neck he can’t even seem to be able to pull off roid rage.
Weird events occur on 13/13/13, but what isn’t clear is why everyone flies into a rage. There appears to be no logical explanation to these occurrences. No bat droppings finding their way into pig food, which somehow then contaminates humans. We just have to accept that when the calendar reaches 13/13/13 all hell breaks loose. Though 13/13/13 is a watchable movie, like those SyFy films that Mark’s so fond of, because you can quite happily sit through the movie, if only just because however ridiculous it is you still want to know what happens next. ’13/13/13′ is however lacking something.
It’s that ideas thing again, Bressack has directed an interesting spin on the outbreak post-apocalyptic movie, albeit one that is missing some pizzazz i.e. a few little surprises, some good old fashioned twists and turns. In many ways this is your typical ISCFC film favourite, a film we will root for and champion, but oh, the disappointment, because it could’ve been so much better. That may be down to the editing, it may be down to the script. I appreciate the risks James Cullen Bressack took with ‘Hate Crime’ and ‘To Jennifer’, but ‘13/13/13’ pushes no boundaries and seems oddly restrained for a movie centred on people going absolutely insane.