Director: Daniel Stamm
Writer: David Birke, Daniel Stamm
Remake of: 13 game sayawng [13 Game of Death]
Cast: Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Tom Bower, Rutina Wesley, Ron Perlman
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]
Elliot (Mark Webber) is about to get married to Shelby (Rutina Wesley) which is added stress (also financially) to a life that isn’t already very easy: his brother Michael (Devon Graye) has a disability, his father (Tom Bower) lives his life in a retirement home, mostly occupied with hating everybody. Both have to be supported by Elliot who is not really the most succesful salesman. That’s when he gets a call from a mysterious voice that offers him easy money – if he just plays along with their game by completing 13 tasks. They start off harmless, but that’s not how they stay.
13 Sins uses a concept that we’ve seen quite a bit already, but it is well done and entertaining, albeit not groundbreaking.
13 Sins is well-paced, the cast is good (Ron Perlman was featured only very little, though) and Daniel Stamm is a competent director. It’s a nice combination and gives the film solid ground to stand on, even though it is pretty clear where things are headed.
Though admittedly, the ending did surprise me. [SPOILERS] I wouldn’t have thought that the second person playing was Michael and I thought it was awesome that a person with a disability got to be a serious counterpart with clear motives that have barely anything to do with his disability. [/SPOILERS] The plot twist with his father, though, was less good.
It would be interesting to analyze Elliot a bit more, especially with regards to the construction of masculinity. Elliot is a caretaker and a softie and defies many of the expectations that are usually looked for in protagonists. In the course of the film, he seems to relish the opportunity to be a man’s man for once, somebody who is abrasive to his girlfriend, who isn’t too concerned with his father and brother, who is a bad boy in a leather jacket and outright aggressive and violent. At first that new Elliot seems cool, but at the end he really isn’t anymore and he is happy to go back to his usual state. I think there’s a nice underlying narrative there about the fantastic nature of hypermasculinity that would deserve more attention.
But in any case 13 Sins is a very decent, enjoyable film that is good at what it does.