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Directed by Directed by Pritesh Chheda
Written by Written by Pritesh Chheda
Starring Starring Amanda Brown, John Lansch, Marc Hustvedt, Trant Batey
Produced by Produced by Pritesh Chheda, Jenny Goddard
When a movie can start off with a line like “There’s a razor thin line between sanity and insanity, sometimes you don’t even know you’ve crossed it”, it’s a fair bet that something big is going to happen. And chances are, it’s not going to be pretty. But whether or not it’ll be entertaining remains to be seen, and that’s exactly what we’re tackling with 13Teen.
Any horror flick that can use Fur Elise as part of the narrative pretty much gets a little extra bit of credibility, as it makes such an excellent background for most any suspenseful scene. And you’ve definitely got to hand it to the writers for constant rain and thunder in the background, a definite extra boost.
There’s a vicious storm brewing in the town of Emeryville, and residents are being warned of troubles even worse than that. Seems a local serial killer is taking advantage of the confusion to run amok, and he always leaves his calling card behind—carving the number thirteen into his victims. So when Sera finds herself forced to let in not one but two strange men in one evening, it’s going to be one doozy of a night for her. Especially when you consider that she’s not quite right in the head herself.
And indeed, the first half or so of 13teen (also called For Sale By Owner, if I’m reading the IMDB right) is actually kind of dull and listless, as they try to build their plot and don’t manage to do a very effective job of it. But about halfway through, it’s as though you start watching a whole different movie that’s WILDLY more effective. I don’t know how they managed to pull it off—all I know is that they did.
So where does that leave us? 13teen is half of a really awesome movie, but the other half is a slow, sludgy mess. Can you sit through the yawnfest that is the first half to get to the second half, which is a terrific movie? That’s your call to make, but I can tell you you’ll be at least partially satisfied.
The ending is where 13teen really shines, and manages to be suspenseful and satisfying all at the same time.
The special features are somewhat limited and include only a photo gallery.
All in all, it’s like I said. If you’ve got the patience to sit through half a pile of garbage, then you’ll be rewarded with this really sweet half of a movie that makes the whole merely adequate.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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