Movie Review – 13 Sins (2014)

13 Sins (2014), also known as 13: Game of Death, is a remake of the 2006 Thai horror-comedy film 13 Beloved. Directed and co-written by Daniel Stamm, the story follows Elliot (Max Weber), a nice guy who is drowning in both debt and personal responsibility. One day he receives a mysterious phone call claiming he can win money by completing thirteen tasks, but soon the tasks become more destructive and criminal, transforming Elliot from a meekly passive person into an assertive individual who begins to wrestle with serious moral questions as the game delves into ever darker territory.

Already anyone reading this is likely to recognize elements of the story from many other films. Truly, the film’s strong point is not originality. However, what it lacks in new plot points it makes up for in great execution and a strong performance by Weber, who makes Elliot’s transformation, which Stamm meant to reflect drug addiction, sympathetic and convincing. Elliot finds his self-image continually compromised for the promise of wealth, but slowly begins to question whether that wealth is worth it.

13 Sins 2014 still

In a movie like this, predictability is inevitable, yet even when I saw a scene coming it’s generally done so well I didn’t mind. There are some twists at the end which, although not entirely surprising, are pulled off perfectly. Good practical effects help to ramp the horrific aspects of this mostly psychological thriller, and there is just enough humor infused to make the watching highly entertaining.

13 Sins’ only sin is unoriginality. Nevertheless, it manages to rise above this shortcoming to offer a fun, wholly satisfying viewing experience.

Grade: B-

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