Starring: Alex MacNicoll, Martin Kove, Genevieve Hannelius, Darlene Vogel
Director: Jax Medel
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17 year old Colton (Alex MacNicoll) is stuck at home having to take on all the responsibilities, including having to babysit his younger sister Rachel (Meyrick Murphy), while their single mother Lisa (Darlene Vogel) goes on a 16 day vacation to Barcelona to unwind. Colton soon becomes obsessed in finding out the mystery behind the vacant house across the street, when he witnesses unusual activity coming from the house and the unexpected arrival of a creepy older man and his daughter moving in. Suspicions are raised when he meets Heather (Genevieve Hannelius) – the recluse foster daughter of the older man Magnus Torvald (Martin Kove), in which Colton becomes quite protective of due to being convinced that her foster father may be part of a satanic cult who intends to cause her harm.
‘Day 13’ is an intense horror thriller with an intriguing plot that keeps you guessing throughout, as we follow our main protagonist Colton, who sets up expensive surveillance camera equipment in order to spy on the house across the street. So he can try and uncover the secrets hidden in the once vacant house. The film introduces us to Colton’s family dynamic, as we learn that his father abandoned them, which left Colton feeling pressured to take on the role of ‘the man of the house’. As this is tested when his mother puts the utmost trust in him to babysit his younger sister Rachel while she goes on holiday to Spain, leaving Colton to look after everything while she’s gone. At the start of the film, both Colton and his sister Rachel give off a very convincing performance of how the majority of siblings act around each other. Such as when Colton acts as the older brother who teases his sister by making it known that he is in charge while their mother is gone. Colton is a likeable character, as even though he acts like an annoying older brother, he does care for his sister and wants to protect not only her, but the girl Heather living across the street. As he courageously tries to save Heather from her foster father, who he believes may be causing her harm. Heather is introduced as an introverted character as she never leaves her home due to describing her foster father as strict. Heather seems to be quite smitten with Colton too, but it also feels like she could be hiding something, which is prevalent in a scene where Colton confronts her about her foster father – thinking the man may be taking advantage of her, but Heather brushes it off.
The movie maintains to keep the suspense by only giving us small clues along the way, such as supplying evidence of the mysterious history of their neighbourhood and how that information may help Colton to slowly uncover the secrets of those living in the house across the street. I feel the audience may become entertained by the mystery and will stay for the ride to see how it all plays out. There is also some unnecessary scenes and weird character motivations that confused me as a viewer, as in the beginning Colton’s actions felt unjust as he immediately starts spying on his new neighbours and even goes so far as to buy an expensive $600 priced surveillance camera equipment, after only seeing at first some lights flicker and their new neighbours moving in during the night. All this can be forgiven after we soon learn that there is something suspicious going on. There were some unnecessary scenes that I felt the movie was only including in order to fill the full 91 minutes of its run time, as there were shots of Colton spying at night that were repeated when there was nothing happening. Not to forget, there was also a dream sequence that felt utterly pointless, as it didn’t add anything to the film.
Even though it has its faults, such as the failed CGI they used towards the last 5 minutes, I can honestly say that the film kept me engaged throughout with the help of a strong performance from our main lead protagonist Colton – portrayed by the actor Alex MacNeil. Also the actor who played his friend Michael: portrayed by JT Palmer, as he had given a much needed comedic relief performance, that was most appreciated due to the majority of this film having a very dark tone throughout. The actor I enjoyed in this the most, due to his charismatic performance, was none other than Martin Kove. Who most people would know him as the strict, no mercy given Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese from the ‘Karate Kid’. I felt his performance of the creepy older man said to be Heather’s foster father – Magnus Torvald, was used very effectively. As they mostly kept him in the shadows, making his character look even more suspicious of being a suspected cult satanic worshipper.
With an unexpected twist ending I never saw coming and the anticipation of waiting to see what the outcome of the mystery of this film was, I recommend checking out “Day 13” just on that concept alone. As I assure you, that you will find yourself becoming curious on what was going to happen, that you will be stuck to your seat until its dramatic demonic finale.