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1 Sep 2010

Movie Review: 13 Hrs

13 Hrs, the only British-made film at the festival, opens as a car drives down an empty road, with a passing glance of a dead dog. This aptly set the scene for the whole, rather disappointing, film.

The plot revolves around Sarah, a daddy's-girl upper-class adult moving back into their family's stately home. After meeting up with her friends (who attend to every single upper-class-trying-to-be-free stereotype), a power cut happens and so they rush inside for booze and candles, just to find that their father is ripped apart on the bed. This is a classic werewolf tale updated for modern teenage audiences. The rather meagre upside to this film is that it has some genuinely tense moments, especially when the group split up only have have them being picked off in the next scene. Other than this, however, the film is, in all sense of the phrase, laughably bad.

Within the first 20 minutes of the movie, I felt a laugh starting in my stomach. It wasn't even a good laugh. Every actor in the cast puts on a posh English accent, none of which come off realistic. The acting throughout is wooden and stiff, making for a movie that is heavy on cheese and makes you feel absolutely no attachment to any of the cast whatsoever, leaving you not caring at the end and making the whole film seem like a waste of time. The only vague anomaly to this rule is Isabella Calthorphe, who plays Sarah. Her acting is somewhat bearable, if still a little stale.

Yet the worst part of this film is easily the script. I wouldn't be surprised if this film signifies the end of Adam Phillip's career. The script was in no way believable, and the writing left little room for emotions, leading to no attachment to characters. This could be sensed almost immediately as the film began, and was a niggling feeling throughout.

Yes, this movie was on a small budget. As a result, the creature itself is hardly ever seen. Yet this works in its favour, adding to the intensity. However, it also works against it, especially in the end scenes. Only brief glimpses of the werewolf is seen, making it seem unbelievable, but these are only in the end scenes, where Jonathan Glendening tries to pull of full-body shots of the creature without showing how far their budget [didn't] stretch.

The final gripe I have with this film is the cinematography. Throughout many of the tense scenes, such as the death scenes or werewolf fight scenes, the camera cuts from shot to shot far too quickly, leaving you in doubt as to what actually is happening. The one saving grace of the cinematography is when the camera gives a first-person view when the werewolf is on the hunt, although these shots are few and far between to give any lasting impression.

Overall, this film falls flat on its face, and gives British horror movies a bad reputation. Its tense scenes do not make up for its overall lacklustre performance, and so it is hard to recommend to lovers horror or werewolf films.

Total Score: 2 out of 10

1 comment:

  1. The cinematography isn't the editing. The cinematographer doesn't decide how quickly shots are cut together. That's a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of movie making. I agree though, I don't believe in werewolves either.