WRITER: James Cullen Breesack
DIRECTOR: James Cullen Breesack
STARRING: Trae Ireland as Jack
Erin Coker as Candace
Jody Barton as Quentin
Nihilist Gelo as Joe
Tiffany Martinez as Kendra
QUICK CUT: After returning home from a camping trip with the guys, Jack discovers things are not so normal on the most impossible day of the year.
Jack - A cop with an attitude, a loving father, but an ill-fit with his wife. Also, one of the few people who doesn't go crazy because someone got the date wrong. He doesn't need help with that.
Candace - Another rare person not going crazy, whom Jack encounters at the hospital. The two bond over their sanity as they try and figure things out.
Quentin - Jack's best friend, and fellow cop, and a bit of a douchey tool. He's a total bro, and thinks he's the greatest thing around.
Joe - Quentin's brother, almost as much of a tool, and pretty much just there for comic relief from the overweight guy.
THE GUTS: Welcome back to Trisk, and we are still deep into 2013, because I refuse to let go! And here we are on the 13th day of the 13th month, so what BETTER time to review 13/13/13! And what a month it has been, huh? New changes to Trisk to celebrate the 13th month, new reviews, and I just got hit with a nasty snowstorm, with more on the way, and not much signs of letting up. Lousy Smarch weather.
Seriously though, how could I not review a movie called 13/13/13? And yeah, it's a pretty brand new movie, and that brings us to yet another new change to Trisk, new movie reviews! I'm not gonna do this often, but trying to nail down a time to say "Nothing after this date!" never worked well, I broke it left and right, and while there was always a sense of "Cheesy horror from the 80s and 90s!" that wasn't always the case. And shouldn't be. There's some gem-like turds from the 70s and 60s. There's Birdemic from 2010. There's a freaking BIRDEMIC SEQUEL on the way!
All this really means is, I'll still be doing shorter reviews of newer stuff, but once in awhile I'll have something that is either so bad it must be fully delved into, or something so amazing in its badness it needs to be shared. Which kinda bodes ill for THIS movie, doesn't it?
But that's enough rambling, lets get into this and see just how bad it is!
We open on a guy returning home to a romantic setup that reminds me deeply of Giles coming home to find a murdered Jenny Calendar in his bed, from Buffy, and the ominous music does not help the forboding. He follows the rose petals to the bedroom and finds his wife wearing someone else's face, which we soon see came from his daughter, sitting on the floor and playing with dolls. With her face skinned off.
After we get a cheap jump scare when the wife attacks the camera, the sleeper awakens and hey! It was all a dream! It was so much of a dream that it ends up having nothing else to do at all with the rest of the movie! Yay, cheap scares for scares sake!
Jack's awoken at a campsite with three of his other friends already awake and giggling like fools around the campfire and already passing around the beers. Yeah, this can only end bad. Sadly, we fall into the one thing I hate most in horror movies, and I touched on it briefly with the Friday the 13th review; I loathe when they make the characters so unlikable that you root for their demise. I'm not even five minutes in, and I already long for a character to be dead so he'd shut up about the stupid story he's telling about how awesome of a jerk he is.
Anyways, before another story can begin, Jack notices his watch is set to the wildly wrong time, because there's no way he slept until 1pm. The rocks and dirt are not that comfortable.
Now that everyone is nicely beered up, it's time to pack up and head home. This movie is just *stuffed* with good ideas. But we get some character beats with Jack, learning he's a cop, and working through a divorce. Oh, and if you didn't hate the others enough yet, they toss in a little bit of sexism and running things over for the ride home.
Jack gets fed up with that BS almost as fast as I do, and goes to turn on the radio and drown them out. But wait! The clock on the truck's radio also says it's 13:13! Notice a pattern here? Yeah, this movie is maggotty with 13s. I kinda love it on that account, but nothing else.
The boys arrive at Jack's old place to pick up his daughter, Kendra, and the good news is, she's still got her face in the waking world. The bad news is, she's playing with some bad CGI.
And she must have heard me, because she squishes the spider and eats its poorly rendered remains. At least we've got the weirdness starting quick.
Jack heads inside to tell his wife he's taking the kid, and asks if anyone wants anything. The answer is, of course, beer. Everyone drinks a little more before jumping back in the truck, including the driver. These are the people Jack trusts to drive him AND HIS CHILD around. This is not good parenting.
But since she's off eating spiders, whatever. Marcie's too distracted to notice the guys making a mess, and Jack tries to clean it up, but instead finds his ex trying to clean her skin down to the bone.
Since Marcie is busy trying to dig out the government tracking chip, they rush her to the hospital, which seems to be staffed up with assholes today. The doctor's are short, the guy at the front desk isn't much better, and the guy who just wants to see if his brother is okay is about to punch someone's nose in.
Jack gets told that his wife is in room 13, surprise! and when he asks if that's such a good idea, the nurse tells him to fuck off. Did this entire hospital take lessons from Gregory House, or what?
On his way to see Marcie, Jack runs into a doctor with another patient with serious damage to the face part of his face, and the doc says this is the 13th guy he's lost today. You bet your ass I am going to point out every single usage of that number.
And there is more yelling from the doc when Jack asks if he has any ideas as to why the hospital is so busy. This is, quite frankly, a very loud, yelly movie. Most of the dialogue is shouting, and half of that is swearing. Which I don't have a problem with, but it can get old, especially at high volume.
Continuing onwards, Jack sees another dead body being covered up, but not before we get shown a 13 carved into their forehead! And another angry as hell doctor! I am sensing a pattern here.
After all that, Jack finds out he's on the wrong floor, so we got a lot of yelling for not a lot of plot momentum. But whatever. Jack moves on, and we jump back to his place, where the three amigos have been left watching Kendra.
Well, 'watching' her in a loose sense, since no one is ACTUALLY watching her until someone realises they should maybe go check in on the little spider-muncher. And you know what this movie needed? More yelling! Seriously, everyone has to loudly declare how pissed off they are with as many swears as possible. And not as elegantly as someone like Tarantino can pull off.
Back at the hospital, Jack is making some headway, and they drop a plot point that will become important later, when they reveal he was born on February 29th. Also, bonus points for the receptionist seemingly being sane! Right up until she calls Jack an asshole. Ah well. Passive agressive insanity.
After being yelled at, Trevor finally goes out to check on Kendra, and even she's given in to being a foul-mouthed asshat. That spider sure did not agree with her. Things take a weird, although unsurprising, turn when Kendra reveals she knows Trevor is a pervert, and asks if he wants to...let's just say act on his urges.
Trevor joins the angry squad rampaging through the movie and slaps the girl, before stopping himself. Kendra retaliates by hitting her own head on the pavement, then headbutting Trevor. When he stumbles to the ground, she grabs his head and pummels it into the driveway.
And yes, there are 13 circles.
Jack finally finds his wife's room, and he's not the only one. While he's sitting at her bedside, someone else arrives, their shadow visible through the frosted glass door, scratching to be let in. They get shooed off by someone who actually manages to sound sane, before anything fun happens.
Meanwhile, the other two drunken buffoons guess they should make sure Trevor isn't pulling a Quagmire on Kendra, and find the kid stradling his chest as his face gets ground into the driveway.
Kendra tries pouncing on Quentin, and they throw her to the ground while Joe holds her down so his brother can run her over. All with plenty of shouting.
But before that can happen, a random guy crawls behind the truck and is pounced on by a random woman who begins gouging out his eyes. Before we can be bothered to give a fuck about their story, Quentin backs up over them, as Kendra escapes. The pair stand around in a daze before shrugging it all off and going back inside Jack's house. Likely for more beer.
Marcie finally wakes up and Jack tries to call Quentin who goes to get Kendra on the line to say hi, but I thought she ran away? Eh, whatever. In a few minutes, this will be the least important plothole looming.
While he's distracted on the phone, Marcie tears out her IV needle, and pounces on her ex. Jack and her fight for a bit, until she decides to take til death do us part too seriously and jumps out the window. This is the entire contrived reason why room 13 is on the third floor, isn't it?
After Marcie's impromptu defenestration, it's BACK to Jack's house and the worst babysitters ever, as Joe and Quentin grab more beers, open them with a knife (Which seems excessively difficult, considering fingers) and then Quentin starts giggling like a... Well, everyone's in madman territory at this point, so who cares about a little more madness?
Joe asks why he's cracking up, and Quentin's response is to open up Joe with the knife as well, stabbing him in the ample belly his brother has. And then Joe starts laughing too.
They start playing with Joe's blood and notice all the white, clean, pristine walls in Jack's house, figuring they can't let that stand. So they get their hands nice and wet, and decide to start fingerpainting with Joe's blood. And can you just guess what they paint? Why yes, a giant 13!
While the two amigos get artsy, we shift back to poor Jack trying to deal with what he just saw. The noises outside the room are not making things better, as they are sounding increasingly like a psych ward gone wrong, what with all the screaming, laughing, and pleas for help.
Jack exits the room, and finds out that the hall has pretty much devolved into exactly what it sounds like, with people fighting, screaming, and banging their heads against the walls and doors. Oh, and they've apparently redecorated.
I will say, it is wonderfully creepy, and really changes the look of the place from earlier. As you're following Jack, so far the lone voice of sanity, it's a surprisingly decent journey to go along with.
Jack gets grabbed and dragged into room 14, and meets Candace who seems to be at least as sane and rational as he is, which is nice. She tells him not to go home, since it is likely his daughter is already dead, or soon will be.
Even though Jack can't go home again, that doesn't stop the plot from jumping back there, sadly. Quentin remembers Jack's a cop and has some weapons stashed somewhere, and tells his pincushion to go get them. The pair argue and yell some more, and that just leads to more punching and laughing.
That diversion is short, thankfully, and it's right back to Jack and Candace. Jack seems to have lucked out and run into little miss exposition, who explains that people born on February 29th are unaffected by the craziness. She doesn't explain WHY, just that Jack isn't, and so is she, so it must be true! Because reasons! But the good news is, Superman is safe, so he can save the day!!
So, let me get this straight. Something is infecting people with craziness and violence, and the only way to be immune is to have been born on a specific day? SCIENCE! And this is the theory put forth by one of the two SANE people in this movie.
It seems like a good time to check in on the laughing goons, who have gone and found the guns. Joe points one at Quentin, and I really wouldn't blame him for pulling the trigger, considering his gut wound.
But, Quentin knows he won't shoot, because Joe doesn't have any bullets! Which he points out, and then asks him to help him get the guns loaded!! WELL HE HAS BULLETS NOW, ASSHAT.
Candace fills Jack (And thus us) in, explaining that the mysterious infection affects people differently, because reasons, but it affects everyone the same by making them violent! We get a decent montage of blood, people, Quentin, and some news reports showcasing the carnage, which is a nice way to show how widespread it is.
She tries to convince Jack to stay, because it's too dangerous, and everyone has gone crazy. Jack insists she define crazy, and hey, Jack? Crazy? Crazy is the plot of this movie.
Instead of my definition, Candace asks if Jack has seen the news, so we dutifully cut to a news report, which is hilariously over the top, and one of my favourite moments in this mess.
While Quentin shoots the tv when the news report cuts out due to *ahem* technical difficulties, it's back to the hospital where the argument continues about whether to leave the room or not, even though it's getting cold in the room.
Jack checks the thermostat and surprise! It's blinking 13 13 13!! Which would actually be pretty fucking hot, if you ask me, but I digress.
He tries to explain how he's seeing the number everywhere to Candace, and she says this is what she's trying to say, that today is 13/13/13. Um, no, no you have not been saying that at all. Not even close. Not once did you try and say that it's 13/13/13. But whatever.
So...we finally come around to the title of the movie again. And what the hell it means. Or what they think they want us to have it mean. Candace dutifully tries to sell us on the idea that because of all the leap days over the centuries, we're supposed to add a whole new month to the calendar every 120 years, and that means today is 13/13/13. Lousy Smarch.
Now, I'm not gonna sit here and do the math, because I don't care that much, but I'm just gonna call bullshit on that entire premise. And it's not helped when Jack somehow takes away from all this that February 29th is not supposed to exist. Which isn't what she's saying at all. Again.
So let's follow this. Because his birthday isn't supposed to exist, it makes him (And others) sane. But if we didn't add February 29th to the calendar, he would have been born on, say, March 1st. Or a whole other date, because by the time he was born 30 years ago or whenever, the calendar would have been so shifted off kilter. But he's SANE because someone somewhere wrote "February 29th" on all calendars every four years.
That doesn't even make sense by the rules of magic, where anything is possible!
Logic is, at this point, throwing its hands in the air and walking off into the sunset, because it has no place in this movie.
The only reason people are still sane is the world's biggest clerical error?!
But wait, possibly the best statement ever in this movie, "There's just one flaw in your theory!" JUST ONE? JUST ONE, JACK?? There's nothing BUT flaws! But fuck it, proceed!!
Jack wants to know how, if all this is true, why his wife committed suicide, how does that fit into all this?
THAT'S NOT A FLAW THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT!! "Hey, so, everyone not born on February 29th is going crazy!!" "Oh yeah?? Well my wife wasn't born on February 29th and SHE went crazy!! How does that fit in with your theory??"
PRETTY DAMNED WELL, I'D SAY!
Ugh. Anyways, they finally decide to go, and Jack checks to see if the coast is clear, but there's still someone out there gloating about now having 13 kills under their belt.
So they arm themselves with scalpels, which looks hilarious by the way, and throw open the door to see if anyone will come in and say hi. They get one guy jumping in to die by Jack violently crushing his head in the door, but then we finally get out of this confined space and move things along.
Back at Jack's, the pair are watching things go to hell outside their windows, and suddenly have a moment of clarity, since Candace explained that can happen, because reasons. Joe realises he's been stabbed, and Quentin doesn't remember how it happened, but is momentarily actually concerned for his brother's stomach.
The sanity doesn't last long, as Joe doesn't follow orders to clean himself up, and they start yelling and swearing at each other again. Oh, how I missed this.
Actually, this scene is pretty hilarious, and I can't even get into it without quoting it line for line. The sanity train pulls far out of the station as Quentin devolves back to his military days, treating this like combat, going full Colonel Kurtz.
Quentin tells Joe to board up the windows, and Joe finds one lone piece of wood to do the job, and starts trying to hammer it in with the butt of his gun. Yep, that'll stop 'em!
The A plot at the hospital reasserts itself, with our sane duo making their escape and creeping through the hallway just outside room 14. On the upside, Candace has grabbed a fire axe. On the downside, they run into a woman who has peeled off her face and attacks.
Yes, this would be the only way in which Jack's dream from the start of the movie is relevant. But Candace uses the axe in the woman's back while she attacks Jack, and he finishes the woman off with the axe in her skull.
Before heading down in the elevator, Jack decides they need a plan. NOW they need a plan. And it's not made better by the fact that both he and Candace arrived in ambulances and have no way out.
So they make their plan to stay on the third floor, grab a bag, and fill it with as many keys from dead doctors they can find, since they obviously drove themselves to work. Not a single one has a wife or friend who could have dropped them off!
But at least someone has come up with some semblance of an idea of what to do, and bonus! Jack scored the knife off the crazy mask lady. It's like they've each found their weapons upgrade pack in a video game.
Once they hit the stairwell, a group of rage monkeys start chasing them almost immediately, and they get off at the lobby. With the stairwell cut off, they have to make a run for the parking garage, but not before raiding more corpses for keys.
Which is the perfect time for Candace to try and get to know her partner in crime better! Jack resists the attempt at character development on the grounds of they may have to kill each other in a minute, and he doesn't want to know everyone's sad backstory when he's cramming an axe into their brainpans.
Jack gives in anyways, and we find out he was kicked off the police force for excessive violence. OH THE IRONY. The only one to stay sane and non-violent in the not-zombie apocalypse is a violent man by nature. SEE WHAT THEY DID.
Fortunately, the crazy train pulls into irony station, and our heroes run like hell to the parking garage. Jack and Candace hide out while the trio of dudes in full aggro yell and swear to try and draw them out. The big guy even promises if they come out and play-aaay his two friends won't join in!
Candice accidentally activates the alarm on one of the cars, and is quickly grabbed by the Brute's shaggy friend and brought out to them. And to sweeten the deal, the Brute kills the other one of his friends just to make it a fair, two on two fight. How nice...
NICE AND CRAZY.
Jack still won't come out though, but he's found a few seconds later. Shaggy wants a shot at him, and the Brute stabs him for insolence. And keeps stabbing him. He's so busy stabbing all of Shaggy's organs in alphabetical order, that he doesn't even notice Jack slicing his neck until its too late.
The best part of fighting crazy rage monkeys is they by and large take each other out, isn't it?
Jack makes up a plan to grab Kendra and head off to the next town in hopes that they're not infected by the bad math of the calendar, because that's apparently a thing. If it is, they'll go to the desert and be safe there. But first, they have to get past the crazy people. Not to mention all the ones OUTSIDE Jack's old house.
I'd almost like to point out that you don't see either of the two people Quentin ran over earlier, or Trevor's bashed in face on the driveway as Jack and Candice sneak around, but this level of continuity is the least of 13/13/13's problems.
Our heroes sneak into the house, while Quentin goes off the rails, convinced he and Joe were in the Korean war, despite their ages, and that they were Korean to boot. Oh, and Joe got his head blown off, but he got better.
I love the strategic placement of all the 13s on the walls, so there's almost always one in every shot, for every closeup, they're always there. Lurking. Waiting. Plotting. The 13s will get you.
As you can no doubt imagine, Quentin's questionable mental state devolves rapidly, and it's not long before he and Jack are pointing guns at one another, at least until the crazy people outside decide to stop pawing at the walls and just open up the front door.
Quentin keeps it together long enough, now that he's focused by home intruders, to help lay down cover fire for Candace until she can get the front door closed and barricaded. Well, at least now they're only trapped inside with TWO homicidal maniacs, and not a steady stream of them, right?
Well, one, after Joe whines too much about his gut wound, and Quentin finally ends his life. That just means he turns his attention to the sane people in the room.
Quentin rants and raves, unsure about what's real and what isn't, which is of course the best time for Kendra to remember she's back in this movie. For all of five seconds until Quentin gleefully shoots her in the head for being a deserter.
You can probably guess Jack's reaction to that, and you'd be pretty much right. Of course, he's not quite a match for the juiced up rage monkey, and it's not long before Quentin has both him and Candace down on the ground. But while he's busy slapping the girl around, Jack gets back up, and draws his friend's attention back towards himself.
Jack immediately throws Quentin to the ground and punches him over and over and over in the face, until Candace stops him and he's long past dead.
So, with everyone we've met and given an actual name pretty much dead, and a few more besides, Jack and Candace head to the car to get...somewhere else not here.
Well, Candace is. Jack doesn't really care about anything that happens from here on out, since he's seen his wife jump out a window, his best friend shoot his daughter in the face, his friends kill each other, and had to also kill his best friend. If ever there was a man more done with the world, I can't think of one.
Candace shoves Jack into the back of the car to cry it out, and drives off. While on the road, she speculates that maybe everything will go back to normal tomorrow, because it will be 13/14/13, and so help me, I am going to smack these people with a desk calendar.
But sure, why not? Because tomorrow is Smarch 14th, everyone stops being crazy, because it's Tuesday. Because reasons.
I do like Jack's reasoning as to why he hopes that ISN'T true, besides the other nonsensicalness of it all; if everyone goes back to being sane when the clock strikes midnight (Because infected brains cure themselves at a specific time everywhere, because reasons), then he just ran around killing everyone he knows and loves, and a ton of people besides that, for no reason at all.
They decide to drive to the next town and hope it's uninfected by the inability to read calendars, and failing that, find a few more leap year babies. Jack thinks that nonsense is still utter bullshit and decides to die than put up with it any longer, ending the movie with Candace yelling his name, and completely on her own!
Yay, a happy ending!!
Video: We've got a brand new movie from a semi-serious production house, so it looks decent. I only hate hoe blue everything is for almost the entire movie. Sometimes colour grading is fun, but sometimes it makes everything dull.
Audio: Like I said a few times, this movie is loud, the sound is pumped. And with everyone yelling, I had to turn it down pretty frequently. It's the opposite problem I had with Blood Beat! But still, the movie is supposed to be this way, and everything's clear, so no real complaints except wishing people would use their inside voices!
Sound Bite: "See! I even kill my own friends! Because I'm a man of my word!" The Brute may well have been the best part of this movie.
1 - A man in the hospital passes away from complications at...DUN DUN DUN, 13 minutes in. I shit you not.
2 - Trevor gets his face ground into the pavement by Kendra.
3 and 4 - We get a two-fer when Quentin backs over some people fighting behind his truck.
5 - Marcie jumps out a window for no good reason besides escaping the movie.
6 - News reporter gets stabbed in the neck on air.
7 - Random hospital crazy gets his head smashed to bits by Jack with a door.
8 - Quentin takes out a random person outside the house.
9 - Then Joe does the same to one at the door. (And there's a number of implied killings here, but all we see are shots being fired, so no good!)
10 - A woman at the hospital gets an axe in the back and head, courtesy of our heroes.
11 - The Brute kills his own friend to even the odds.
12 - And then he stabs Shaggy when he gets in the way.
13 - Moments later, Jack slices the Brute's throat to end his threat.
14 & 15 - Another twofer of randoms go down thanks to Jack and Quentin.
16 - And another.
17 - And Jack takes another out with a knife.
18 - Quentin finally puts Joe out of our misery by slicing his throat.
19 - Kendra wanders into the path of a bullet from Quentin.
20 - Quentin gets his face punched into the carpet by Jack.
21 - Jack exits the movie before this nonsense can go any further.
Best Corpse: I'm giving the award this time to the trio, The Brute, Shaggy, and his friend. It's a fun scene, really creepy, and having the Brute randomly kill his friends just to be insane is a great way to showcase the lunacy of the movie.
Blood Type - B+: While the effects are almost non-existant, there's a few good throat slashings, the face masks are okay, but besides all that, they literally painted the walls with buckets of blood, so there's that! Quantity over quality, but hey.
Sex Appeal: Everyone is too busy running and stabbing crazy people to get naked.
Movie Review: Oh, you know where this is going. You've sat through 4500+ words. I don't REALLY need that many more, do I? The plot is absurd. Even if I buy into the whole "the calendar is wrong and this is a really bad day of evil!" thing, which I don't, there's still the whole February 29th thing, and yeah. A world actually exists where this plot works, at least in broad strokes. Plenty of movies have done things with cosmic alignments, but this movie doesn't bother with anything sensible, they just say it's happening because it's happening. A little more thought could have gone into the mechanics of it all. Now, if we ignore the *reasons* behind the movie, and this might surprise you, I almost kinda like the plot. Ignore every reason why things are or aren't happening to people, and just run with people going crazy with two lone survivors struggling to get to safety? Yeah, that works. And there's fun on the way, but the whole contrived 13/13/13 nonsense just makes me throw my hands in the air. It's actually a well made film, and has some decent direction, and fun, but GEEZE does it shoot itself in the face on logic. There are better, more sensible stories of survival horror out there. I am wearing two skinned facemasks out of five.
Entertainment Value: This is a tough one. Sure, this movie is fun to watch, and you can make a drinking game out of how many 13s they cram into this thing. Or when someone gets killed. Or someone yells. Or swears. But so much of the fun comes from so much frustration, I start to wonder if its worth it? And yeah, I lean on it being so. If you watch this movie, you will want to be like Joe and shoot the tv before long, but at the same time you're shaking you're head, you're laughing your ass off at the absurdity, and there are moments when you actually start to root for Jack. Mainly because he thinks this plot is as absurd as the audience is. Overall, I'd have to give this 13 thirteens out of 13. OH GOD THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!!
And finally, the blurb on the back of the DVD says that this is because our leap years violate the Mayan calendar, and the made up 13/13/13 is the REAL end of the world they predicted. Y'know what? Maybe that SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE MOVIE!!