13 Sins (2014)
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Although 13 Sins is an adaptation of a Thai film called 13 Beloved, most horror fans will think of the recently released Cheap Thrills when they hear this premise: In exchange for money from a mysterious stranger, a hapless chump is put through a cruel course of ever-escalating challenges until he hits that most unlucky of numbers.
Elliot (Webber) is a good guy with a lot of bad luck – it’s up to him alone to support his pregnant girlfriend, his mentally handicapped brother, and his deadbeat dad. Oh, yeah – and when we meet him, he’s just been fired from his menial sales job.
Elliot not only needs money, he needs a miracle. And lo and behold, it comes in the form of an anonymous phone call by a cryptic benefactor who invites Elliot to play a game. As long as he plays by the rules, he’ll have cash wired directly to his account. The jovial but malicious-sounding voice offers Elliot $1,000 if he’ll swat a fly. Doing so, Elliot is instantly credited with $1,000 in his bank account. For another scad of cash, will he eat the fly? Yep. Game on! As each challenge becomes more demanding – make a child cry, set a church on fire, wrangle a rotting corpse – the financial reward increases. But at what price is one’s soul?
Mark Webber is excellent as Elliot – it’s not easy for such an unwise character to remain sympathetic throughout, but the actor sells it. Supporting cast includes the great Ron Perlman, a creepy Pruitt Taylor Vince, and the lovely Rutina Wesley.
The ending peters out a bit, but if you enjoy a little sadistic horror with a touch of humor, then 13 Sins is a fun enough time waster.
13 Sins is available on VOD now and hits theaters on April 18, 2014.
3 out of 5