Basically it's all something to do with leap years violating the ancient Mayan calendar and all those extra days in February, over time have created an extra month and on the date of 13/13/13 everyone who wasn't born on a February 29th goes completely nuts.
It's a wonderful, end of the world scenario that allows for lots of death, destruction, mayhem and the symbolism of the "unlucky number" 13. More importantly, I hadn't really heard of much like that before and it's always nice to hear a fresh idea.
Yes, ok, so behind the idea is the whole Mayan calendar hoopla that went around last year claiming that, in 2012, the world was going to end and, I'm sure that, The Asylum liked it for that reason, as they're always making B-Movie versions of big budget disaster films (or Mockbusters as I believe the affectionate term is for them) but this has a decent spin on that and actually attempts something novel with it. The idea that leap years added up would form this weird 13 month is just the kind of bonkers, surreal hokum I am drawn to. There was a bit of George A Romero's The Crazies mixed in there as well but it's, at least, a different Romero source to draw from than the interminable bad zombie films we've had to wade through lately.
The things that I enjoyed in this film were the slow build up to people going crazy, some good and, on some occasions, even darkly comic deaths, a nice, atmospheric, gory and weird hospital sequence and attempts to establish different types of craziness for different groups of people. There was a really strong bedrock here for a pretty decent end-of-the-world horror film and what the filmmakers were able to do with, what was, obviously, a limited budget was, also, very impressive.
What was a slight disappointment with the movie, for me, was the fact that, I didn't feel, the concept went anywhere or was explored as much as I would've liked. For example, it needed a crazy old professor, or someone, who knew about the old world and spouted Donald Pleasance-like doom filled one-liners. The film, definitely, could've done with some sort of further explanation of the situation or some place to go. Maybe a glimmer of hope to reverse the situation using a mystical rock, Mayan gold amulet or something, or, maybe the rising of old beings to establish their order again on earth.
As it was, while it was atmospheric, gory as all hell and nicely shot, the hospital sequence went on entirely too long and once our two, Feb 29th born, protagonists finally escaped there was little time for anything but a muddled and, I felt, rushed finale back at the house.
The acting was a problem in the film. I watch a lot of amateur and low budget films so it doesn't bother me a lot but the acting was pretty stale, unfortunately, and not one character really shone in the film. A lot of that might have been the script too because, while the idea was there and the deaths, gore and action were all there, the dialogue was, in places, dreadful. I thought that more creative ways could've been used to convey the craziness other than just rage and repeated uses of "fuck" said unconvincingly by actors struggling to act. Don't get me wrong, there were some creative bits of craziness, especially Quentin (Jody Barton) believing himself, suddenly, to be a Korean war general but overall the swearing and the anger felt forced in some of the performances. I liked the laughter and the random acts of violence but thought the opportunity to make that truly creepy was missed.
Without a few strong, decent lines of dialogue and the odd interesting character, the film did, very slowly, become something of a slog but there was, genuinely, some nice potential here.
Trae Ireland and Erin Coker were solid enough, but neither of them had very interesting characters. Calico Cooper is Alice Cooper's daughter but sadly didn't get to do very much but what she did was fine though. Jody Barton got the showy role and was, at least, enthusiastic with it and, probably, the strongest performer of the lot. Bill Voorhees, with the name made for horror film acting, was sort of funny in the role of sidekick to Jody Barton despite it being an underwritten, obvious, slob-friend role.
My favourite scenes in the whole thing were an early scene where Quentin decides to humorously run some people down with his car, the slowly escalating crazy in the hospital and its gore drenched walls and the news room scene with the comedy news anchors attacking each other. They were all, a genuine joy.
While it, sadly, does go nowhere, there was lots to like in this B-Movie. One positive on the acting was that I didn't feel anybody was winking at me or playing any scenes in a lazy, half-arsed manner. I felt that everyone was trying their hardest and playing the scenes straight and true. This is important because it's become all too fashionable these days, even amongst high-profile stuff like Tarantino and Rodriguez's later work, to knowingly and lazily play every scene just for puerile, pathetic and ironic laughter and, for me, that just takes me right out of the film. While the acting isn't always strong or dynamic, I am glad to say 13/13/13 doesn't do this. The key to making a fun, enjoyable, weird, silly, wonderful, cult or B-Movie is to believe in what you're doing, no matter how ridiculous and, again, this film does succeed in that regard.
While not quite there completely I appreciated this film for it's attempt at a different, creative take on an apocalypse scenario. It was an enjoyable romp, some great scenes, some good enthusiasm and a decent idea at its core.