Review: 13 CAMERAS Sees Into Your Nightmares

Editor, U.S.; California (@m_galgana)
Review: 13 CAMERAS Sees Into Your Nightmares

Formally called Slumlord when it played festivals like Fantasia and FrightFest last year, the weird indie film now known as 13 Cameras will be out on VOD and theatrically on play April 15th. It's the directorial debut of Victor Zarcoff; while the film isn't perfect (and let's face it, not many films are), 13 Cameras is one of those rare movies that got my pulse racing.

The story is as goes: couple Ryan and Claire, who's in her second trimester, move into a new house. He's 27, she's 30. They've recently moved from New York to California; it's not really explained why, but we must assume it's either for his business or for her to be closer to mom before she gives birth.

Anyway, they take a look at the house. Even though the owner smells like "bad mayonaisse" (vomit), they decide to take the place anyway, because it's a rad property. Except that locked "owner's closet" and the fact that neither Ryan nor Claire can get cell phone reception in their own house.

You can see where this is going.

The landlord Gerald (Neville Archambault) is perfectly cast. The man is creepy as fuck and inherently shady when he shuffles around. He utters grunts and when he chooses to use language, there aren't very many words. When those amazing shots of him (the photography there is amazing) watching the couple on his home computer pepper the film, he does not blink. Not once.

It's unnerving. You can almost smell the putrid vapors wafting off his unwashed flesh... A look at Archambault's IMDB page reveals a far more normal-looking human being. This guy is absolutely fantastic. The other actors aren't nearly as consisent in their craft; they range from adequate to very good to downright frustrating. My sense is that as Zarkoff progresses in his own career, he'll be better able to weed out the mediocre in auditions. 

There are also some head-scratching script choices (who gives his mistress a key to his house??) and groan-inducing plot devices; namely trouble with cell phones and how they work and don't work in real life. But if you can get past these issues, you'll have a good time. You might even cheer when someone dies --- or be afraid for another character who deserves to be rooted on.

I didn't hate this film, and I didn't love it. But it's got so many promising attributes that I really, really, really wanted to love it. Like I said before, there was enough dread and tension to get the blood in my neck pounding, and a thrill like that is one of the main reasons I watch films. In the end, 13 Cameras is worth checking out. You may even never rent a home again, if you're able.

13 Cameras

  • Victor Zarcoff
  • Victor Zarcoff
  • Neville Archambault
  • Sarah Baldwin
  • Sean Carrigan
  • Jim Cummings
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13 CamerasVictor ZarcoffNeville ArchambaultSarah BaldwinSean CarriganJim CummingsDramaHorror

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