[Movie Review] ’13 Demons’ Would Be a Great Choice for RiffTrax

13 Demons is a movie I caught on Netflix the other day. It is listed as a horror movie and the description reads:

“A group of gamers discover a banned board game with a dark history to which a number of mysterious deaths have been attributed in the past.”

It is written, directed and stars Daniel Falicki. Other cast members include Stephen Grey, Michael Cunningham, Steven Taber, and Patrick Hendren with a small handful of other unknowns.

The unknown cast and the mediocre three-star rating meant that I wasn’t expecting much, just cheap mindless entertainment. Based on the movie description, I was expecting either a modernized Mazes and Monsters or maybe a darker Jumanji.

Then the movie cover leads you to believe it is possibly a Warcraft-type fantasy movie.

Warcraft did it better
You never even see this orc/demon

Even the trailer didn’t seem too bad:

I was disappointed on all accounts, yet I sat through the entire hour and 13 minutes hoping that it got better.

The Good

I will start out by listing the good (okay) things about the movie, after all there needs to be some light within the darkness.

  • The interaction between the primary characters is good, you would believe that they were friends playing a board game.
  • The filming (excluding the dream sequences) was very well done
  • The character personality transformations are also well done and show that the actors do have ability, however this is not the venue to show their talent.
  • The movie concept is intriguing
  • The ‘dream’ armor looked cool
The armor was nice

And I am done.

The only true action scene

The Bad

Now onto the rest of the movie:

The only ‘horror’ I encountered in this movie was in the the seizure-inducing ‘dream’ sequences. The first time I saw the sequence I thought it was a lead-up to either a good action scene, an alternate world, or that we would at least get to see the demons they were fighting. Once again, I was wrong. We instead spend several minutes staring at a psychedelic flashing screen with vague shapes slowly moving towards each other, until one stabs the other.

Flashing psychedelics should put a seizure warning on this film

Within the first minutes of the movie you have the entire plot, which is fine, because you don’t truly realize it at that point. What makes this sequence hard to stomach is the fact that the two main characters are very hard to distinguish between because they flip between them so quickly.  Though on a side note, one reminds me of Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride.

The movie is clearly low-budget, with most of it being contained to one room. However, that factor alone does not make the movie bad, what does make the movie bad is:

  • Psychedelic dream sequences
  • Copious amounts of sweating
  • Constant repeats of two lines “It’s a game.” and “It’s not a game.”
  • Absolutely no closure
  • Long periods of silence
  • Opening sequence
  • Bad action scenes

I will leave you with this massive plot hole/mistake that drove me nuts..what happened to the wheelchair?

Overall I am giving this movie a one-star rating. They had a good concept, it’s their execution that was lacking. On the plus side…it would make a great Riff Trax or MST3K show.

1 out of 5 Stars