Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


13 Sins

13 Sins
Starring:
Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Rutina Wesley and Tom Bower


Rated: R for violence, bloody images and language.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: April 18, 2014 Released by: TWC/itd

A dark parable dressed up as horror thriller from Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism) serves up increasingly grisly cinema that will probably appeal most to fans of the torture/porn franchise Saw. A very lurid tone is established even before the opening credits are displayed in this intense interpretation of a 2006 Thailand picture.

13 Sins  is a supernatural variant of the far-fetched, if intense premise of what James Wan began to much financial gain which first starred Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, and Tobin Bell. When it comes to being on the other end of a mysterious phone call which then asked, "Shall we play a game?"

Now, Mark Webber is desperate idle salesman Elliot inclined to complete the eponymous tasks (of what is referred to as "The Game") which can lift him out of financial ruin as his bank account grows as he accomplishes them. But, when he goes through plenty of odd, unpredictable behavior that happens to keep the authorities at a safe distance, an insatiable greed has had quite a toll on his rational perspective especially when notified that his profits will be voided if he doesn't finish the entire baker's dozen. Elliot has a lot on his plate with a needy, stunned pregnant wife (Rutina Wesley), as well as a mentally disabled brother (Devon Graye) and an ornery, invalid father (Tom Bower).

To the filmmakers' credit with Stamm a co-scenarist, they stir up much of a macabre complexity with a steep sanguine bite to it which starts innocently from a swatting of a fly to having coffee with someone who's all but given up on life. That's done often in an off-the-cuff amusing way in a fairly polished production that keeps it all bearable before becoming a little too wickedly off-the-grid.  

You can't say Webber is miscast or mediocre as the crestfallen ordinary guy who becomes cognizant of the implications of his transgressions even if not much attention is spent to giving some dimension Eliot (at least like what Wan and his writers afforded Bell and his personal connection to 'Jigsaw').

Other noticeable support includes Pruitt Taylor Vance who's into the mysteries of "The Game" and Ron Perlman (TV's Sons of Anarchy and Hellboy) as a pretty suspicious detective on the case.   Nevertheless, 13 Sins even with at least one seismic narrative turn isn't structurally sound enough to support the desired hell-raising finish empowered by its ostensibly formulaic path through creepiness.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
13 Sins        C+                     C+ 

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