by Jonathan Glendening
13hrs is a British
horror movie produced by the makers of the 2002 movie Dog Soldiers.
Isabella Calthorpe stars as Sarah Tyler who has been living in LA, but
for some reason that is never explained has returned to her family
There must have been money in the family at some point because the old
homestead is better described as a mansion than a house. For whatever
reason though, the family has fallen on hard times and Sarah’s father,
played by Simon MacCorkindale, is struggling to make ends meet.
After a brief reunion with her father, Sarah heads out to the barn in
search of her younger brothers Stephen, Charlie and Luke. Not many
barns come equipped with a sofa, but this one does and she finds the
boys having a party with their friends Gary and Doug. Sarah’s former
best friend Emily (Gemma Atkinson) is also in attendance and it appears
that there have been some changes since Sarah went away, one of which
is that Emily resents her friend for leaving her. The other is
she is now going out with Stephen, who is probably the most dislikable
character in the film. Charlie is a pretty okay guy though, and is
genuinely glad to see his sister. Doug is more laid back
about it but he also appears glad to see Sarah and the signs are there
that they have been more than just friends in the past.
Sarah’s youngest brother, Luke, is up in the loft, sleeping off the
effects of some Jamaican Black, provided courtesy of Doug. Luke is only
thirteen and Sarah is not impressed to learn he has been
smoking drugs, but she does not appear surprised. She is
surprised, however, when she learns that her mother—who is supposedly
away on business—may be having an affair.
The scene in the barn lasts for about a quarter of an hour and serves
introduce the main players in the story. The action starts after a
power cut plunges the barn into darkness. Faced with this new dilemma
the gang decide to take decisive action and head on over to the house
for more booze and ciggies. They soon loose the party spirit
when they discover blood on the stairs. Then when they see where all
that blood has come from they nearly loose their lucnches as well. The
party is officially over, there is a monster on the loose, and Gary is
the first one of them to die.
From that moment on Sarah and the gang are in fear for their lives and
spend a considerable amount of time hiding in the loft and debating
whether to try and get to the phone, or go for the shotgun instead.
They try both, with disastrous results.
I enjoyed watching 13hrs,
it is a pretty good film, but it is not
something that I could watch again and again. Calthorpe is the dominant
character throughout the film, but the quality of her acting, although
adequate, is not great. In fact wooden acting is a big problem across
the board in this film, but maybe the cast could have done more with a
stronger script. Some of the scenes are not very believable, the
characters have inconsistencies in their personality traits, and some
of the dialogue comes across as forced and unnatural. It would be easy
to blame all this on the actors, but the script is
the law, the director is God, and the actors can only do their best
with the material they have been given.
One of the most unbelievable scenes in the film involves Emily and
Stephen. After a quarrel with the rest of the group Stephen decides to
go for the shotgun, and Emily goes with him. Okay, fair enough; they
are trapped with a monster, who wouldn’t want the comfort of some cold
hard steel? But in a situation like that would Stephen really decide
that it was a good time to try and get down and dirty with the lovely
Emily? She looks great but—really!—would anyone be thinking with their
dick at a time like that? It adds a whole new perspective to the phrase
‘a body to die for.’
The main thing I do like about 13hrs is that you
never get a good
look at the monster until the end of the film. There are flashes of
something nasty and a lot of blood, ribs and guts as well, but never a
close-up of the creature responsible for reducing so many of the
characters to so much offal. For that you have to wait and the film is
the stronger for it because it keeps the viewer wondering.
If you cannot stomach films that have a lot of blood and guts in them
this one may not be for you, but if you think you can handle the gore,
and a little wooden acting now and then, 13hrs is certainly
and a half hours of anybody's time.
... Doug Walker
... Sarah Tyler
... Luke Moore
... Stephen Moore
... Mrs Moore
... Charlie Moore