This trio of low budget indies in varying subgenres covers a lot of familiar territory, but does that outweigh the fun to be had?
This hokey little witch/possession/teen slasher feels like a cheap film you might see on SyFy around Halloween time, so don’t expect any suspense or even any cheap jump scares.
A young woman wakes up in a hospital bed and a detective is there waiting to interrogate her as to why all her friends are dead. That kind of setup always kills a majority of the suspense instantly because once the flashbacks start, there are no surprises—we know exactly who’s going to die and who’s going to be the final girl.
Anyway, we flash back.
The main girl and her friends go hiking. They come across an empty house. They find witchcraft paraphernalia inside.
One friend puts on a necklace she finds. She has flashbacks to a witch being tried and persecuted in the past and then becomes possessed by her. That possession comes in the form of white face paint, color contacts, and a hoodie.
This all drags on for almost an hour before she begins killing all her friends, occasionally using 1980s era computer generated supernatural magic effects.
Once they’re all dead and we get back to the final girl telling her story in the hospital, the witch has somehow followed her there and the killing continues for a few more minutes.
DAY 13 (2020)
This film started off feeling like Rear Window meets Disturbia meets Fright Night, and I was okay with all those derivative comparisons meshed together.
Left alone to watch his younger sister when their single mother goes away on vacation, a teen boy immediately begins to spy on a house across the street as a man and his daughter move in.
Then the teen boy gets ridiculously obsessed with the new girl’s business even though she’s standoffish to him at first. He’s persistent and tries to warn her that a) her dad is doing weird things at night, and b) her house is suspicious because it’s the oldest house on the block.
Various elements of this movie seriously cause plot holes. Plus, despite the teen boy realizing the dad is delving into satanic ritual shit and keeping his daughter prisoner, which leads to the teen boy and his buddy sneaking into the house numerous times, it’s just not as suspenseful as it should be…perhaps because it’s so predictable.
That is until the final scene. Let me clarify. The twist at the end is predictable also, but the final scene is something that has to be seen to be believed. I’ll give the filmmakers credit—if you’re going to try to make your derivative film as different as can be at the last possible second, this is the way to do it.
This is such an odd approach to a slasher/Halloween haunted attraction flick. It also sprinkles in a dash of backwoods horror and incorporates a commentary on military PTSD. There are moments that work, but just know that you are not getting into a heart-pounding joy ride of horror here. This is a moody slow burn that only really ramps up the thrills in the last twenty minutes or so.
A crucial point to make first is that if low budget movies that are shot so dark you can barely see anything drive you nuts, you will not be happy with this one. I was really frustrated by it because I so wanted to be able to better immerse myself in what was being offered here, especially considering that Halloween themed horror flicks make me giddy. Naturally, this one earns a spot on the holiday horror page.
I was immediately confused by the opening and how it’s supposed to relate to the remainder of the film—a general disconnect that plagues this movie right through to the final scene.
We meet a straight couple living in a sleepy town. He has just returned from serving active duty, she’s trying to embrace his return and support him while getting into the holiday spirit. But her love for Halloween at first makes her out to be somewhat of a psycho due to the dark approach she has to celebrating the season. This is one of those disconnects I was talking about, although in the end I feel like this film is passing judgement on those who live for the horrors of Halloween!
Anyway, after way too much time is spent demonstrating to us just how low-key the couple’s life is, they decide to go to their favorite Halloween haunted hayride event. She is much more enthralled with the morbid entertainment than he is, and it clearly has a negative effect on him.
This is when the film gets even weirder. The couple gets separated due to them having a fight, and the female eventually returns home…which is where all the horror truly begins as she is eventually chased for the final act by someone in a mask. Despite the minimal number of characters, we do at least get several bodies to count, but while this final sequence saves the movie by at last delivering some suspense and intense situations, it’s still a challenge to add all the pieces together—and the excessive darkness only amplifies that challenge. Good news is that the final sequence actually takes place the next morning during daylight hours….