Starring: Devon Graye, Mark Webber, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Ron Perlman
13 Sins is a film that delivers more than I expected it to. The premise, where one phone call begins a downward spiral into malicious acts that promise fortune to the “contestant” playing this game, is one that doesn’t do justice to the performance’s in the film. From Mark Webber’s portrayal of Eliot to the devilish George Coe as “the voice”, everyone does an admirable job elevating what could’ve been a low-grade and predictable thriller into an interesting character study of how far one man is willing to go for his future.
Eliot is down on his luck, up to his eyeballs in debt, about to get married with a baby on the way, and has both a mentally handicapped brother and an elderly father no longer able to take care of himself. He seems destined to fail in life with so much weighing on him, until he gets a mysterious phone call informing him he’s been chosen for an exclusive game show, where he must complete thirteen tasks in thirty-six hours as they are assigned to him, and fame and a secure future will be his reward. But the tasks, which start out innocuously enough, become more difficult as the game continues, and test Eliot in ways he never imagined possible.
13 Sins might not go very far in distinguishing itself from previous films in the genre, but it’s nonetheless a fun ride for fans of psychological thrillers and what I’ve come to think of as “puppeteer” films (Saw, The Game, etc.). And while it won’t be taking home any Oscars, it’s a strong enough film with worthwhile performances that compel you to keep you watching, despite some hiccups in the script.