07th Nov2013

’13/13/13′ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Trae Ireland, Erin Coker, Jody Barton, Calico Cooper, Tiffany Martinez, Jared Cohn, Bill Voorhees, Greg Depetro | Written and Directed by James Cullen Bressack


What happens when you team one of America’s best indie horror filmmakers (directing from his own script) with one of America’s biggest mockbuster makers, The Asylum? Well, you get 13/13/13.

Seemingly inspired by Darren Lynn Bousman’s 11-11-11, The Asylum have, since 2011, been releasing thematically similar horror flicks for the past few years. In 2011 we had 11/11/11, and last year they released 12/12/12 and this year we get 13/13/13 (the title will make sense once you’ve seen the film). The Asylum’s previous “demonic number” flicks told of children, anti-christs reborn on earth, and how they were set to bring about the apocalypse. Well now The Asylum have taken it a step further with this flick – the apocalypse is well and truly under way in this ends of days tale

For millennia, calendars have added an extra day every four years. In doing so, they violated the ancient Mayan calendar. Now we are in the 13th month of the 13th year of the new millennium, and the few who survive will battle a world of demons.

I’m a big fan of James Cullen Bressack’s three indie horror features My Pure Joy, Hate Crime and To Jennifer. The man has a way of telling interesting stories on a low budget, often with a pretty brutal edge, so I was interested to see what would happen if he worked under the auspices of a production company rather than producing his own film. Happily it turns out nothings changed much, this film still has that “indie horror” vibe found in Bressack’s previous flicks – only this time it looks like he has a little more money at his disposal, using it to really bump up the gore quotient in this flick.

Unlike many mainstream directors Bressack has no problems with explicit violence, even when it’s perpetrated on and by small children! The violence makes for pretty brutal watching at times which, for a movie distributed by The Asylum, may take an unsuspecting audience by surprise – because unlike many of the companies mockbusters or Syfy channel monster movies, 13/13/13 takes its story and its gore very seriously. And man is this flick gory: faces ripped off, axes in heads, heads squashed in doors, stabbings, shootings and much more!

What is different about this film is the size of the cast. Bressack’s films have, so far, featured a small cast – almost claustrophobically so – but with 13/13/13 Bressack has a much larger cast to work with which, if I’m honest, means that the film has some truly ropey acting. I have no doubt the acting “quality” of the extras was down to the low budget but some of the “performances” are hard to watch – especially from those guys playing the stressed/crazed doctors in the hospital where the film begins.

Yet Bressack still manages to bring his apocalyptic tale down to a small group of survivors and his main cast, Erin Coker (who also starred in 11/11/11 fact fans) and Trae Ireland give solid performances, especially Coker who seems to be making a name for herself as one of The Asylum’s scream queens. And if you’ve seen Bressack’s previous work you might recognise Jody Barton as Quentin, one of the friends of our hero Jack, who ends up holed-up inside Jack’s house, slowly going insane whilst fighting off the crazies at his door, plus there’s a nice cameo by Chuck Pappas, star of Bressack’s To Jennifer as one of the hospital orderlies.

Another solid film from James Cullen Bressack, 13/13/13 manages to build on the apocalyptic stories of the first two films in this seemingly unconnected franchise, whilst still maintaining some of his indie filmmaking traits within the remit of an “Asylum” film.

13/13/13 is out now on DVD in the US, no doubt we’ll get a re-titled release here in the UK very soon.


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