New On Demand from Sector 5 Films!
13 DEMONS (2017)
Directed by Daniel E. Falicki
Written by Daniel E. Falicki
Starring Stephen Grey, Michael Cunningham, Daniel Falicki, Steven Taber, Patrick Hendren, Jackson Ezinga, Charley Vanportfliet, Shelly Irwin, Steve Kelley, & Jason Roth as the 13 Demons of the Apocalypse!
I’ve been a big fan of Daniel E. Falicki’s films. He is able to take a winning concept and make a film from that concept with no to low level budgeting. Still, through the strength of his characters, his concept, and his scripts, the story is as compelling as a blockbuster a hundred times its size. 13 DEMONS is another film with a winning concept, but the story seems fit for a short, but doesn’t have enough legs for a feature length.
13 DEMONS opens with a pair of blood spattered men being interviewed separately by two groups of policemen. The police men are pretty sure they have their guys who have been rampaging across the city, beating and killing people in a seemingly random fashion. Turns out, both men have been playing a role playing board game that seems to have convinced them that the world is being overcome with demons and that they are the only two battle-weary knights capable of stopping them from bringing forth the apocalypse. To the cops, the two are lunatic psycho-killers, but to the two men, they are saving the world.
This is a concept I can get behind. A JUMANJI-like game that plays off of the old phobias that D&D will make you crazy–reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ early film MAZES & MONSTERS). But unlike that TV movie, this one is blood spattered and full of grime and grit. While the scope is small, we get to witness the two gamers receiving the game and then getting sucked into it in some pretty amazing scenes highlighting the acting talents of Falicki and Michael Cunningham who are nonplussed at the game at first from their friend (Stephen Grey), but soon become addicted to the game. It’s a comment on how video and RPG games can be dangerous if done in excess.
That said, there just isn’t enough story here. This is mainly because much of the attacks the two confused gamers commit are described by the police and then CG snippets of the murders are relived through the eyes of the madmen. This is most likely done due to budgetary reasons. In order to make a feature length time, though, the film definitely overstays its welcome. There are scenes where characters are simply spewing dialog to make up space. Then there’s the back and forthing between the police and their captives simply screaming “It’s just a game!” and “It’s not a game!” back and forth for what seems like an eternity. These moments really take away from the awesome concept and performances. 13 DEMONS is a film that should have trimmed away twenty minutes of navel gazing and discoursing or come up with a secondary plotline. As is, it is a strong concept with some really nice moments—a well acted piece of psychosis and a wonderful descent into madness, but it overstays its welcome and ends up hurting itself because of it.