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The 13th Friday Review

The 13th Friday is a 2017 horror film about thrill seeking friends who return to the place of a terrifying killer.

So right off the bat, you know where the filmmakers of The 13th Friday are headed, naming their film so closely after the beloved horror franchise Friday the 13th, or at least what they want you to think of when considering whether or not to give this a shot. The similarities end there though, The 13th Friday more a cult-ish ghost story than a slasher movie, and despite some impressive visuals, given the very low budget, is a mostly dull and uninspired entry in the genre, rarely earning a single scare.

Looking for some cheap thrills, a group of young people decide to spend the night at an abandoned house, said to be haunted and so evil, the town built an unused church beside it in hopes of keeping it imprisoned. Naturally, toying with a spherical puzzle box, they awaken an evil spirit bonded to an underground lair of worshipers that demand a sacrifice every month for thirteen months. One of the group, Allison (Lisa May), is deeply troubled by their fates, and after she spends time talking to the families of those she has helped kill, ends up being targeted as the last sacrifice. When she escapes though, it’s her fellow ritual-following friends who get offed, one-by-one as the vengeful demon goes on a rampage.

It’s not hard to know what writer/director Justice Price is going for here, the film loosely tied together around a number of horror tropes that throws in all sorts of overwrought standards while culling from a host of other movies (think The Ring, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Final Destination, and The Grudge) in delivering this, a story that combines religion and satanism with a touch of possession. Few films like this deviate from the formula and perhaps Price isn’t to be blamed for trying to stick with what has worked before, rehashing and outright copying from others. That said, the story itself actually has some traction, even if it’s overly familiar, a movie like this bound by rigid expectations. The problem is in the delivery.

The film is largely incomprehensible for most of the first half, with scenes cut and pasted together in haphazard order that attempts to fill in the blanks of what is happening, starting with an intro that sets up the admittedly dark backstory. From there, untrained actors deliver flat dialogue without much range, barely reacting to what would in reality would be mind-bending imagery. Price is much more concerned with the frights (and young girls in plunging, tight tops) than making sense of the story, and it’s here where the movie has its best moments, with some good-looking effects. However, there’s no getting around the dull performances and lack of momentum throughout. As a low budget horror film, a subgenre with a growing fan base, The 13th Friday might gain some favor. It has plenty of ambition and Price shows some competence in setting up a scare. It’s just too bad something more imaginative couldn’t have been done with all these easy-linking pieces.

The 13th Friday releases on VOD October 10.

The 13th Friday Review

Movie description: The 13th Friday is a 2017 horror film about thrill seeking friends who return to the place of a terrifying killer.

Director(s): Justin Price

Actor(s): Lisa May, Khu, Melissa L. Vega

Genre: Horror

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