April 23, 2014

VOD Review: 13 Sins (2014)

"Risk everything. Fear nothing."

Sure, that's easy for you to say when you're just the voice on the phone instructing someone else to do horrendous things in the name of money. You're not risking anything, and if the poor guy ends up getting killed while jumping through your twisted hoops, you owe him nothing, so yeah, that's some real brave advice there, Mr. Mystery Voice!

Sorry about ranting so randomly, but that little tagline from the trailer has been driving us nuts since we first saw it. Poppycock!

Anywho... 13 Sins is a remake of the 2006 Thai Thriller, 13: Game of Death. In all fairness, I personally have not seen the original, so I can't speak to its merits either way.

With the way that American filmmakers tend to handle remakes of Asian Thrillers though, we didn't hold out much hope for this one. Have you seen the Oldboy remake? What about the Nic Cage version of Bangkok Dangerous? Neither were anywhere near as good as their originals. They're even talking about remaking The Raid and I Saw the Devil for American audiences, which is a total joke. The original films are just fine for American audiences, and it's truly a shame that we as a culture are too lazy to read subtitles.

All of that is to say that going into 13 Sins, we were expecting to find a watered-down, lost in translation mess of a remake, but instead got a movie that hits most of its marks, and does so pretty well.

A likable loser who has hit hard times financially, receives a mysterious phone call offering him a chance to play a game. The prize? Millions of dollars! The game? All he has to do is perform 13 tasks, exactly as he's told to, when he's told to, and once he starts, he can not back out of the game, or he loses everything. Sounds like a plan to us.

Kill her! She's a horrendously annoying Vampire!
At first, he has to eat a fly for a $1000, and then make a little kid cry on a crowded playground, for a few grand more. Simple, right? Well, the challenges get nastier and more dangerous as the money prizes grow, and soon our guy finds himself ruining his life and on the run from the Po-Po because of them. Even his retarded brother and racist pappy are at risk from the mysterious forces behind the game, so he has to keep going, even though he wants to stop...

"I'm going to kill your parents, you little bitch!" What a fun game.
Detective Ron Perlman is on the case, investigating the "incidents" brought on by this crazy game, and as he delves deeper and deeper into the seedy world of high stakes truth or dare, one thing becomes apparent; nothing is as it seems! Like it ever is in these movies?

That guy is about to get jacked for that flask.
13 Sins reminded us a lot of Cheap Thrills, what with its plot about a financially strapped young man being lured into a creepy game with the promise of life-changing riches. Cheap Thrills was a better movie overall, but aside from an ending that isn't as good as everything else that leads up to it, 13 Sins is a pretty solid little Thriller in its own right.

13 Sins is a smart and stylish flick that boasts some solid performances and a great concept. It was full of tension, it had a few solid scenes of bloody mayhem, and it kept us asking questions about what was going on throughout... even though we never really got the answers we wanted. At least the movie made us care enough to ask.

"And why would you have to search my ass, Officer?"
We're not too familiar with a lot of Mark Webber's work, but he won us over with his likable loser role in this one. We absolutely despise Rutina Wesley's Tara on True Blood, so we were not only shocked, but also pleasantly surprised to find ourselves liking her work in 13 Sins. That's saying a lot for us, because we REALLY hate her character on True Blood.

And of course, we always love Ron Perlman, just as any reasonable human being with any sort of soul does.

C'mon... how can you not love this guy!
Who was the mystery group behind "the game?" I mean how vague can you leave it without making it all seem like it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of your movie's plot? Were they The Skulls? Was is the creepy, rich Europeans from MartyrsSatanists? Mormons? And why did they use such outdated phones in their high-tech game? We need answers!

What is with these phones from 2001?
The ending was a bit of a mess, with twist #1 leading directly to twist #2, which brought us to the WTF moment of the movie, which paved the way for twist #3... which was just a red herring, because, happy ending! What the hell was all of that malarkey?

It all really just begs the question: did he get the money or not? Clarity, people. Clarity is a good thing.

Just leave the phone and upgrade, man!
Limbs being severed, throats being slit, stomachs being stabbed, a group beheading... this one is not shy at all in the blood & gore department.

Well, at least he wore a mask...
No, but Brittney Alger looked fantastic in that nurse's uniform. Also, we didn't know that Mark Webber was real-world married to Aussie hottie, Teresa Palmer. Nice job, Mark.

Never trust a sexy nurse!
The Illuminati controls everything. Or maybe it's The Freemasons. Immobiliare? Some ultra-secret group controls everything.

Not as great as we'd hoped, yet not as bad as some critics are making it out to be, 13 Sins is a fun, tense little remake, that will entertain most viewers with its bits of black humor and shocking gore gags. How this movie only has 57% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond us, because it's definitely a better effort than that paltry score indicates. For $6.99 on VOD, you really should give this one a go; it's well worth your time and the money.

13 Sins is available now on VOD, and in Limited Theatrical Release.


Brittney Alger? Yes, Brittney Alger.


  1. I neither have seen the original but this film is good enough to entertain me most of it's running time. Sadly,the ending was a major let down. To call it slighly above average would be a good decision. Thank you for your review.

  2. I enjoyed this movie as well. On another note, I hope you continue to do weekly "What's New on VOD" posts because lots of horror movies are taking that route these days, a number of which would probably have received theatrical releases not ten years ago. I'm thinking of films like Haunt and Haunter that would have gotten wide theatrical releases in the "old days."

  3. Yeah, Myra-Belle, the ending left us wondering what happened too. Aside from that though, decent flick.

    HWK, you're absolutely right. It's crazy how fast the whole VOD thing became a major part of movie releases, especially Horror. We will do a weekly VOD post, and I will update the VOD list on the sidebar everytime something new comes out or is announced.

    We do miss those "old days."

  4. Did not you found the film too similar to , Michael Douglas 'The Game'?
    On the other hand, I agree with you on the subject of Asian remakes, but with one exception. I think the American version of 'The Ring' is more than worthy. Obviously the original is the original, but the remake is very accomplished, even introduces new elements to the story (the plot of the horses) that fit nicely.

  5. The original was a very good film, although a little over the top as the movie progressed. No happy ending, though, which made it more ... realistic?