Movie Review: 13 Sins (2014)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2014 horror movie starring Mark Webber and Rutina Wesley.

Synopsis: Already buried in debt, responsible for his mentally handicapped brother and expecting to be a father, Elliot Brindle is shocked to learn he is being fired from his sales job for being too meek. So, when he receives a mysterious phone call telling him he will be rich if he completes 13 different tasks, he is quick to accept. However, as the caller increases the odds and has him perform illegal activities, Elliot realizes he must either complete the "game" or his life will be worse than it was when he started.

Who's In It?

Review

I had to water my garden yesterday evening and, mostly because my garden hose had a leak, that project took longer than expected. However, when I got back in the house, I saw my wife had picked out this movie to watch on Netflix and, while I did have some doubts about it when we first started it (mostly because Perlman was the only actor I recognized), it turned out to be a decent choice.

I think the thing that really impressed me about this film was it didn't end up being as predictable as I thought it would. I kind of figured each new level of the game would ultimately have him crossing lines that he would regret crossing. But, the film managed to keep things from being too obvious.

In fact, the mysterious caller had a bad habit of keeping certain details about the game a secret until it was absolutely necessary. This included waiting until toward the end of the contest to tell Elliot he had competition for the prize and making sure he was in just enough trouble with the law to make it impossible for him to abruptly leave the game.

Elliot himself was also somewhat intriguing because, even though the game was designed to force him to get over his meekness, he never really got rid of it. This added something to the movie because, even when he would play along and try to complete a challenge, there was part of him that seemed to still quietly rebel and find a way around completely committing to it.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the way it focused more on the psychological elements rather than spending the entire time trying to gross out viewers (like way too many other movies I've seen). Yes, there are a couple scenes that were a bit bloody. But, I don't think it was anything over the top or distracting.

I am still undecided about Perlman's Det. Chilcoat character. He had his moments and I think Perlman did a decent enough job playing him. However, it just seemed like that character could have been better developed and, at very least, been a larger part of the overall movie. In other words, the best-known actor in this movie was also the most under utilized actor.

Final Opinion

I wouldn't describe it as a great movie. But, I did think it was an OK film that was worth taking the time to watch. I'd recommend it as a result.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 05/14/2019, StevenHelmer
 
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