Film reviews

The 13th Friday – Film Review

Leslie Pitt reviews microbudget horror film The 13th Friday...

STARRING: Lisa May, Khu, Melissa L. Vega, Victoria Valdez

DIRECTED BY: Justin Price
WRITTEN BY:  Justin Price

During the end credits of The 13th Friday, we are treated to a rather long ‘Special Thanks’ section of friends, family and well-wishers who have clearly helped spur on the filmmaker who created this piece. Such credits are a constant reminder that a film, no matter what the project is, takes time and effort. So many people don’t even reach a point of completion. By these standards, director Justin Price is already ahead of the pack. Think of how often a friend or associate talks a great game of some large scale creative project, only for the listener of the cohort’s pipe dreams to hear nothing build from it. No matter what is said, Justin Price has finished a movie.

What a movie it is. The horror genre is often used as a cheap way to gather some people together and create a film. The best cases have seen the likes of Wes Craven and Sam Rami craft predominantly successful careers from incubating entertaining conceits and working around whatever limitations or obstacles may get in their way. Horror is often cheap, but it’s a damn hard genre to make effective. This is something that Price will do well do learn if he ever makes another feature.

Liberally syphoning from far more entertaining excursions such as Hellraiser (1987), as well as a glut of religious possession films (which seemed to have made quite a comeback in the 00’s), The 13th Friday is a burnt hash brown of a film. Taken from frozen, it’s a film that was quickly dunked into oil that was far too hot. The outside tastes like charcoal. The inside is still lukewarm. Horror films like this aren’t usually nourishing, but they usually go down better what we’re given here.

To sum up the plot; there’s not much of one. A group of friends (who talk to each other like strangers) party at a haunted house, little do they know that a possessed spirit decides to terrorise them because of her evil mother. Possibly. This writer isn’t quite sure that’s right. Problematically neither is the film, which becomes a junk plot of possession, sacrifice and so-called visions in bad make up. The 13th Friday isn’t scary. That’s one thing. But it also doesn’t make a lick of sense, which just makes things even more frustrating. The film jumps from illogical scene to illogical scene with the film’s horrifically flat actors struggling to give the limp dialogue any signs of life. This is not a joke. The actors do struggle terribly. Then again after watching the film’s narrative flipflop from one place to another, I feel the editor did too. This is a film which is paced like a horse who realises it’s in a race after the jockeys are on the podium.

There is no joy in giving a film like this an editorial gut punch. Other writers obtain a deranged sense of glee when excavating a film to the nth degree. This writer doesn’t. Writing about a bad movie can be painful. Especially when the movie in question suffers terrible visual composition, bad lighting, and numerous shots flittering out of focus. It is a film that isn’t even invested in getting the basics right. This isn’t fun to write about so imagine how it feels to watch.

The 13th Friday is cheap horror film, but that no problem if the filmmakers were interested in invention. However, this is a film that can’t even establish characters let alone install a fear. This could be easily seen as just pure jealously however. Despite its awkwardly abrupt ending, the filmmaker finished his film. That is something. He got his special thanks.

The 13th Friday is out now on VOD. Check out the trailer below and let us know in the comments what you think.

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