11th May2014

’13 Eerie’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Katherine Isabelle, Michael Shanks, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher, Jesse Moss, Nick Moran, Kristie Patterson, Michael Eisner, Lyndon Bray | Written by Christian Piers Betley | Directed by Lowell Dean

13-eerie-screen

Every now and again I’ll scour the shelves of my local supermarket looking for an interesting straight to DVD release that might catch my eye. Usually I don;t have much luck, however this past week there was not one but two DTV flicks that caught my eye, including this, 13 Eerie.

The film follows six ambitious forensic undergrads who travel to a remote island – the location of an abandoned prison (13 Eerie Strait Penitentiary) previously used as a biological test site – vying for a position in the FBI. The zombie convicts that now inhabit the island begin to hunt the students down and what started as a fight for an esteemed FBI career is now a fight for their very lives…

So what attracted me to 13 Eerie? Certainly not the cover art which bears little resemblance to the actual movie and instead screams “from the producer of Silent Hill and Resident Evil 4“. Nope. It was the solid cast, which includes American Mary‘s Katherine Isabelle, Stargate‘s Michael Shanks, Brendan Fehr (TV’s Roswell) and Brendan Fletcher (Freddy vs Jason, Rampage); and the fact this is a Canadian production. If you’ve been reading Nerdly for any length of time you should know how much I love (most) Canadian genre flicks – after all, the country has been responsible for some great Canuxploitation films over the years, plus Canada has seen a resurgence in quality horror output in recently with films such as Antisocial and Discopath. So when I saw a Canadian take on the zombie genre, with a pretty decent cast I had to snap it up.

And you know what? Turns out I was right to grab it. Besides fulfilling the criteria of featuring a decent cast and hailing from Canada, it actually turns out 13 Eerie also fulfills another of my current “loves” – the throwback movie. Yes despite being lensed in 2012 (the film was released in the US last year), this feels very much like an old-school 80s zombie movie, complete with monstrous zombie effects and some gloriously excessive gore… and believe me this film is GORY! (just check out the screenshot above). Disembowelment, Fulci-esque eye-piercings, decapitations, dismemberments, flesh ripped from bodies, and entrails and organs munched on by zombies are just some of this films “highlights”, truly earning (for once) the films 18 certificate.

Plot-wise there’s not much to 13 Eerie, the gang of wannabe FBI agents show up, the zombies rise from the dead and chaos ensues. You know, your typical, DTV zombie plot. But that’s not necessarily to the films detriment. The cast are uniformally excellent, with (of course) Katherine Isabelle the shining light in this dark tale; and they’re all eminently likeable – which means you’re forever rooting for them to survive and feel for them when they don’t. Plus director Lowell Dean keeps the pacing tight and the action frantic, there’s not really a moment of let up once the zombies begin their attack.

The zombies themselves are not your typical movie zombies either, for one they look like the orks in Lord of the Rings and move like them too, only adding to the fast-paced nature of the film. However for the life of me I couldn’t help but be reminded of the zombies from The Video Dead each time they appeared on the screen. Although that’s not a bad thing if, like me, you’re a fan of that cheesy 80s zombie flick.

[On a side note: Given how much I enjoyed 13 Eerie, I’m only even more excited for director Lowell Dean’s next film… the much hyped WolfCop!]

Ignore the crappy UK DVD cover art which, for reasons I cannot fathom, makes 13 Eerie look like a post-apocalyptic zombie survival horror flick a la the Resident Evil franchise and give this great Canadian horror flick a go. You won’t be disappointed.

13 Eerie is out now on DVD from Metrodome Distribution.

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