Movie Review: 13hrs (2010)

Movie Review: 13hrs (2010), starring Isabella Calthorpe, Gemma Atkinson, Tom Felton, and Simon MacCorkindaleAlso known as Night Wolf, 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 home.

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 to 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 decides to take decisive action and head on over to the house for more booze and ciggies. They soon lose the party spirit when they discover blood on the stairs. Then when they see where all that blood has come from they nearly lose their lunches as well. The party is officially over, there is a monster on the loose, and Gary is the first one 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 13hrs 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 it was a good time to try and get down and dirty with the lovely Emily? She looks great but—come on!—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.’


CAST

Gemma Atkinson … Emily
Joshua Bowman … Doug Walker
Isabella Calthorpe … Sarah Tyler
Cornelius Clarke … May
Antony De Liseo … Luke Moore
Tom Felton … Gary
Peter Gadiot … Stephen Moore
John Lynch … McRae
Louisa Lytton … Holly
Simon MacCorkindale … Duncan
Sue Scadding … Mrs Moore
Gabriel Thomson … Charlie Moore


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