Over the past few years, the British horror film has been notoriously hit and miss, with few offerings really standing up to the independent gore boom elsewhere in Europe, with surprisingly good acting being heavily overshadowed by poor scripting and FX. There are of course exceptions to the rule; 28 Days Later, Outpost, and the highly entertaining Skins meets Zombies style teen flick Tormented, all raised the limbo stick pretty damn high, meaning that most film makers have been lazily wandering under it without any back strain or hint of originality.
Now I must admit I didn’t hold out much hope for 13Hrs, even with the presence of Draco Malfoy, that kid from My Family, and Gemma Atkinson (who, I can imagine that with such credits as Hollyoaks, and every issue of Nuts/Zoo magazine ever, was the main draw of the film for any sweaty palmed lad’s mag subscriber she had no doubt promoted it in), and thought that after ten, optimistically fifteen minutes, I would have been reaching for Evil Dead and watching something I know could never disappoint, but this one actually had me up until the end.
Well .. Not quite.
Sarah, the prodigal, estranged daughter has returned home to the dilapidated family mansion, for a few weeks after taking the advice of Pulp and trying to ‘live like common people’, by struggling on the nine to five in the US. Upon her arrival, she discovers all is not well on the home front, with debts, divorce on the cards, and shall we say interesting, if not slightly incestuous (Altogether now – Ew!), relationships with her step brothers..
There is a gathering in the barn which naturally consists of dirty dancing (not the film though, thank god), mild drug use, conversations/scenes of a sexual nature, and all round idiocy when the power goes out. As the poor, little rich kids are forced to move the party into the main house, they discover that their dad has been murdered by .. I’m assuming it’s a werewolf with alopecia? And commencing bad times all round.
Although the film leaves a lot to be desired in terms of acting, having an idea of how teenagers/twenty something’s actually behave when in a group, and dialogue, I did think it was a decent attempt at a creature feature. The story was original, though meandering towards a predictable ending, and the characters, unlikable as they were, kept you entertained towards at least the last fifteen minutes (when the vile, moribund Steven finally meets his well deserved demise), where everything went a little wrong with a lazy, ridiculous ending.
Sadly it had a lot of potential, but in the end fell short of even my low expectations (and they were lower than Gemma Atkinson’s top in this film, which was obscenely low, believe me).