Review: LOCKER 13 - Don't Throw Away The Key For This Thriller Anthology Just Yet
Locker 13 is a horror/thriller anthology, a collection of five cautionary tales about making the right choice.
The wraparound story, The Other Side, stars Jon Gries as Archie. Archie is introducing Skip (played by voice actor Jason Spisak) to the night shift at a western theme park. As they tour the park Gries tells all these tales to Skip. They are meant to serve as cautionary tales, tales about making the right choices. Before Skip takes over the night shift he is warned not to tough locker number 13 in the employee change room. In each story locker 13 is the common point which draws them all together. The anthology itself ends with Skip's story, as curiosity overwhelms him and he looks into the locker and through to The Other Side. You will just have to watch Locker 13 through to the end to find out if he makes the right choice or not.
The first story Down and Out was created as a short film a few years back for proof on concept. In it Ricky Schroeder is a boxer past his prime looking for one more shot at the big time. When he is given an old pair of gloves by the gym's janitor he starts winning. Except his wins come with a price. His opponents are dying. Is it the gloves? Do they make him not want to stop pummeling the guy in the other corner? Should he get rid of them? Schroeder is convincing as the boxer Tommy Novak. He really does look like has been in the ring one round too many. Who feels the most out of place here though is Tatyana Ali. What is she? A prostitute? Her character Lucy serves no purpose at all except to say three lines of dialogue. That's it. Her character is not there to serve as motivation. She is just, a floozie. Down and Out is not a bad way to start the show but I needed more convincing. It was written by John Waldron and Cameron Young. Matthew Mebane directed it, as well as the first short film back in 2009.
In the second story, The Byzantine Order, Clifford (Curtis Armstrong) takes his friend Eugene to be initiated into this order. The evening is going smoothly when one of their elders (David Huddleston) arrives unexpectedly. The initiation seemingly takes a dark turn and resolves with a case of the fatal misunderstandings. Things start to pick up with this short. The humor is sly and the horror elements are grim enough to satisfy our bloodlust. We are headed in the right direction. This short was written and directed by Bruce Dellis.
The third story, Suicide Club, is all dialogue however, Take that scene from Fight Club where Tyler Durden yanks the fry cook out of the diner and holds a gun to his head and expound on that for another five minutes or so. Suicide Jack (Jason Marsden) appears on the rooftop that William is about to jump off of. Jack talks him down and eventually out of committing suicide, albeit with a gun pointed at William's head closer to the end. Suicide Club is not so much a let down as much as it is a stutter. It was directed by Adam Montierth.
The fourth story, The Author, is my favorite of the four stand alone cautionary tales. Rick Hoffman is Armando, a killer hired to kill a husband/boyfriend/boss. Yet, he has captured and is holding captive the wife, the lover, and the employee. He is trying to figure out which of the three hired him to carry out this hit. Armando records everything that is being said because he wants to write a book about it. And as he proceeds to interrogate his captives eventually the truth comes out. I like the surprise at the end. Though I like the dialogue in Suicide Club, I really like the writing in this short better and how The Author played out to the end. And Nick Hoffman as the Latin hitman Armando has a certain devilish charm about him. I like him a lot in this. It was well written and directed by Jason Marsden who was in that earlier short.
Locker 13 is a horror/thriller anthology that plays out each morality tale on the light side. It is not too graphic nor does it rely on the kills to get a thrill. The stories feel more akin to the Twilight Zone than any of the current horror anthologies. It makes for perfectly fine, light entertainment but likely will not stand out or linger long after viewing.
The film opens in select cinemas today (Friday, March 28) and is also available on VOD.