Thursday, November 3, 2016

13 Cameras (2015): Movie Review

Synopsis: Claire and Ryan, a newlywed couple, move into a new house across the country, only to find out that their marital issues are the least of their problems.

This…ah…film popped up on my Netflix queue and I clicked on it just to see what was up. I like the, “I'm secretly watching you” horror flick. Whether it be through a window or hidden cameras.

The first thing I do when I turn on these movies is to turn off my over-40 brain and get into the shoes of the protagonist. Then, I turn off my writer brain and try to simply follow the narrative. If I watch a film with any of these personas turned on, I end up either being overly critical toward the characters
(“I would never do that.”) or overly critical toward the writing (“I would never write that.”) I make an effort to be scared by a movie.  And I can’t do that when I’m twisting my mouth up in disgust. I will say, however, it is the writer’s business to get the viewer to at least sympathize with the protagonist.

So how did 13 Cameras do?  Not very well. The characters were annoying and unsympathetic from the very first frame. I was rolling my eyes the first five minutes of the movie. Whining and complaining is not a positive trait, and these characters had that in spades. Yes, they were a newlywed couple, the wife was pregnant and it comes out later that they were having problems, but still, grabbing your audience's sympathy goes a long way to creating a frightening atmosphere. Get us to root for them, not wish them to die a terrible death.

You know that gut feeling you get when you visit a house to buy or an apartment to rent or a place to stay (even if viewing it on a computer)? Most of the time sane people pay attention to that instinct. The female (pregnant) protagonist in this movie does not. And that’s where I had trouble with the movie. But, since I was still intrigued by the premise, I watched on.

The movie wasn’t a disappointment. It delivered all the creeps and chills you would expect from a movie where a weirdo landlord has installed cameras everywhere. The expected climax at the end takes place in near darkness and gives you a few scares.

What annoyed me about the movie? Who moves into a house where you don’t have access to every room and closet? If the landlord indicates something is a locked, “Owner’s Closet”…..nah, man, you might have drugs or a body or something in there. In addition, how can you not tell if a house has a basement or not?

If the landlord/handyperson gives you the creeps, why rent the house? The characters gave no overwhelming reason as to why they want the house. Give me a REASON folks as to why you are going to  rent this house from this weirdo. Because I would have been like, "umm nope." The wife goes so far as to say the landlord smells terrible and is weird. Maybe this was the only house available for rent in the area?

The husband was a jerk and the pregnant wife was a whiner. The rest of the actors had little to no personality, leaving you to focus on the creepy landlord. I will say the actor playing the landlord was excellent in his role. He gave me the shivers through the TV screen. The ending; sorry, give me a break. I don’t mind suspending disbelief, but the actions of all involved didn't make much sense to me. And the "epilogue"...I have no words for that.

It's not a bad way to pass an hour and change, but don't go into it expecting too much.

About the Author

Dahlia DeWinters is the penname of a former romance writer who has turned to the dark side. While many of her stories still dabble in the hearts and roses genre, it is often against a sinister backdrop. She is a lover of all things scary, even though she tends either to watch them while gripping her husband's arm or between her fingers. Her enthusiasm for found footage horror, surprisingly, has rewarded her with a few gems. Drawing, fiber arts, and gardening are a few of the things she does in her spare time, when not dreaming up stories of zombies, mysterious happenings in gothic mansions or screening horror films.
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