Saturday, March 10, 2012

In short: 13Hrs (2010)

Sarah Tyler (Isabella Calthorpe) returns for a rare visit to the British country home of her semi-estranged family. Because her mother isn't home, and her stepfather Duncan (Simon MacCorkindale) only has a cameo role, Sarah spends some quality time in the mansion's barn with her highly unsympathetic stepbrother who is just entertaining a bunch of her old friends with a bit of grass and a lot of alcohol. After some soap operatics that set the tone for the soon to follow bickering under stress, the whole gang returns to the mansion's main building to fill up on alcohol. There, they learn that Duncan has been killed by a werewolf with an embarrassing case of alopecia. The werewolf knows what to do with young people in a horror film, and so the expected series of scenes of said werewolf hunting annoying young adults, of course broken up by scenes of emotionally uninvolving bickering, ensues. Who will survive the night, and who will get bitten?

The British 13Hrs is another film testing my patience with what can only be described as aggressive mediocrity. On a technical level, there's not much wrong with the film, except for action scenes edited too fast - clearly done to hide the problems of the monster effects and/or director Jonathan Glendening's problems with staging action excitingly, the camera is in focus and moves, actors are present and okay, a script does exist, and there's a werewolf. However, there's also nothing much to recommend the movie to anyone. There's no careful building of mood, the characters are annoying little shits who act stupid even beyond the stupidity I'm willing to accept for people in an unexpected life or death situation, there are no interesting developments of any kind. There's nothing horrible about the film, yet nothing at all I could single out for praise.

The third act reveal - while inoffensive - is especially limp. I could try and praise the reveal for at least making sense in the context of what came before - which, as you know, Jim, is not a given in the plots of horror movies - but then I don't think a film is worth praising for not going out of its way to be actively bad.

And that is the core trouble with 13Hrs: it is by no means a bad movie, and I'm certain Glendening was working hard directing it, but it lacks anything that makes a film even slightly memorable.


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