The 13th Friday Film Review by Zobo With A Shotgun
This review of The 13th Friday is going to be kept short and sweet. Who am I kidding? It’s going to be lengthy and particularly bitter… Usually it’s plausible to say there is no right or wrong way to do something, but when it comes to this horror film, there was a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way was chosen.
If you ever wanted to give someone a course into how not to make a movie, you could simply give them this film and they would understand. Firstly, let’s start with the title of the film, does it ring a bell at all? Of course it does. By taking the name of a very well-know classic horror movie and simply moving around the words, the title for The 13th Friday was born. It’s a very cheap gimmick to replicate a title with a small change and release it as something new and modern. Therefore, point one of how not to make a horror movie is: come up with the most unoriginal film title possible.
The opening scene of the film shows a mother burning her child alive, sounds horrifically fucked up and scarring, right? Wrong. Never in my life have I seen someone being BURNED ALIVE, and it coming across quite tame. The acting is so dire in this scene, that I would honestly suggest that the director, Justin Price, films me (with no acting abilities whatsoever) when I’ve stubbed my toe or found a spider in the house for a more authentic capture of real pain and terror. If you thought it wasn’t possible to be half-heartedly burned alive, you’ve been mistaken.
After opening a gateway into another realm with the use of a device that looks uncanny to a very familiar box used in a very familiar film called Hellraiser, the mother who subsequently burned her child alive realises her house is now cursed by an angry spirit. Skip forward to the future… When a group of teenage friends decide to have a party and explore of the house, one girl becomes possessed. From there, an ongoing possession and sacrificial battle with the other realm begins.
After mentioning the first scene, I would like to dive right into the second scene, which again was just as awful. I’ve been to some uncomfortable and boring parties in my life, but what I witnessed as the teenagers opening party was the most awkward scene ever. The characters are supposed to be friends, however, their silent party looks more like some kind of first AA meeting where everyone has been unwillingly forced to interact with people they would rather avoid on all occasions. In some ways it’s quite hilarious, but it seems this film wasn’t intended to be a comedy so it’s nothing to be thankful for.
Continuing through this film was painful. It’s a minefield of cliches stolen directly from other films, which is really quite infuriating as a horror fan… The teenagers have to give a sacrifice every consecutive Friday, 13 times over, in order to satisfy the malicious spirit, so they seem to make a random decision (without really telling the audience) to disband as friends and start murdering each other to make said sacrifice. I would really hope that if I were to ever come across a situation like that (highly doubtful), my friends wouldn’t be so quick to jump the gun, literally, and stab me in the back just for some weak ass demon shit.
Even though we know the friends are killing one another, we don’t actually get to witness many of the kills, which is fairly disappointing seeing as there could have been a fair few included. Instead, the main focus is on the final sacrifice, which happens to be the 13th Friday – much surprise. From here, everything goes a little chaotic and it seems Price thought it would be very creative idea to include yet again, more elements from every horror film you’ve ever seen and loved. There’s venturing into caves with monsters that were clearly born and bred in The Descent dwelling and even more stolen ideas, which I don’t really feel like listing because you get the idea that the entire film is just a mash-up of other well-made horror movies.
I always feel a tinge of guilt when I write a review like this and completely slate what has been a labour of love and hard work for someone – then I remember that unfortunately, if something is shit, it’s shit. May this be a lesson that you should never create an independent movie that steals others accomplished work as it shows your abilities as lazy, uninventive and lacking creative direction. A film can take elements and inspirations from other films, but not directly copy something (remakes are obviously a completely different matter). The 13th Friday can have one star for the effort, but don’t waste your time on this.