loading, one second please...

13 Seconds 2003 Standard

Reviewing: Integration Entertainment Standard  |  Rating:
John Gugie By John Gugie on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Movies & Documentaries Expertise:
Image for 13 Seconds 2003 - Standard

A band wants to shoot a video at a turn of the century school. While there, they must escape an evil art gallery and an evil older than time.

This review will cover this as a film and an independent film to be fair due to the different factors in budget and production. I don't sugar coat my reviews so it will be fair.

First off, as a regular film, I found this mediocre in several ways. The weakest part is the acting. Most of the acting is horrendously bad - it's obviously most, if not all, of the actors have had no previous acting experience. Most of the dialogue isn't very good but a few parts near the end had slightly better lines.

As a low-budget, independent horror film this is one of the better ones that I've seen. The acting is bad but you have to expect it with these type of films. Bare in mind that this is Jeff Thomas' first full-length film in which he directs, writes and acts. With that said, Jeff has talent which will get better with time and a better budget. This is in need of better editing and better dialogue and it would be much better.

The story isn't very original but not bad. I found that a few different plot devices are employed, which might be better used separately and more fully developed. It needs more focus.

Onto the good aspects of this film. The atmosphere. It has a great atmosphere considering the budget. It's moody with good use of shadow and angles. There is great tension, enhanced by the soundtrack. I've seen other reviews criticize the placement of the tense music versus the lighter music but I think it is fine. The most often used piece, the theme, is very tense and suspenseful. While listening to it, I feel the need to look behind me or run (roll) from a stalking killer. The setting is perfect for this type of film - an old school with lots of long, empty and turning corridors and places to hide, like a maze.

Now, while most of the acting is bad, it's not a total waste. I found Robert Yensch, as Colin, to be the best actor of the lot. His face actually seemed to portray emotion while delivery his lines. Jeff Thomas, as Davis, is the second best actor here. He is definitely the most animated.

The SFX are very good for an independent film. They're gory enough albeit the blood seems a little too light-colored at times. The arm through guy's chest is great! I had to re-watch that scene several times. The crucification-like scene is pretty good. But my favorite special effect is the under-used vampire boy, or as I like to call him Mini Nosferatu. He gave me nightmares! The hooded axe men are okay but what's with their head shaking? Is it a low-budget emulation of their head turning around 360 degrees or to show a surreal nightmare-like world? I think it looks weird. Jason Voorhees is scary without the caffeine jitters.

Some say the film looks gritty. I like it. It's sort of hazy which adds a realistic look to it. It's pretty uniform throughout.

The audio needs work. At several points the volume level changed drastically. I found one outdoor scene in the beginning to be especially bad, to the point that I could barely hear it. Besides this scene, the rest is sufficient.

Overall, this is a very good first-time effort from a promising new director. If you can overlook the irregularities and bad acting and judge this AS a low-budget independent horror film, you'll like this film. As a movie, I give this a 2 out of 3. But, judging it as an independent film, I give it a 3. If you like independent horror film, you'll like this. If you're new to independent films, this is a good start. Worth a view.