“Claire and Ryan, a newlywed couple, move into a new house across the country, only to find out that their marital issues are the least of their problems. Unbeknownst to them, Their grim and lascivious landlord has been spying on them from day one.”
As readers of these reviews might know, I’m not a terribly huge fan of the mean-spirited horror movie. and 13 Cameras certainly feels like that kind of movie. This is the first outing for writer and director Victor Zarcoff, and he’s certainly demonstrated real talent as a director, but the film does fall short in the writing. It’s fine to make your film bleak, and even tread the line of being cruel to your characters, but you need to have someone to root for and that’s where the script becomes a problem.
The protagonists, played by PJ McCabe (The Den) and Brianne Moncrief (All My Children) who play the aforementioned newlywed couple, who are (of course) expecting a baby, and also have an adorable pet dog. The couple are pretty contentious with each other, and we even come to know that McCabe is cheating on his pregnant wife with his assistant. There is even an effort to justify his actions, and make him relatable, but I just had a really hard time getting on board with him as a character.
With that said, there is at least one solid performance in the movie, and that has to go to Neville Archambault as Gerald. Gerald is a frightening and bizarre character, he is the landlord who is a pretty ominous presence from the get go. Archambault gives a great performance and is certainly one of the best parts of the film, showcasing the directing skill that Zarcoff has, and it does make me wonder what he might have coming next.
There’s no denying that this is a disturbing and even frightening film and at the end of the day it all comes down to my own personal preference when it comes to film. I’ve never been a fan of the Hostels or Human Centipedes and while this movie doesn’t come close to that level of grim violence, there is something familiar in its tone and story. The events in the movie are disturbing because of the implications and the things that happen, but not because you’ve invested in the characters and the things that they are experiencing. Having a pregnant character does not create and automatic connection, it plays on your own feelings about what pregnancy means, for example.
All in all, this is a perfectly well-shot film, with good direction, and a pretty disturbing concept. My only real complaint is that it didn’t do anything for me personally. I am sure that there are some who will really enjoy this, who like this particular kind of movie. So, check it out if you want.
MY RATING: **