I may be a little deluded in saying this, but the prospect of a Canadian horror movie does tend to pique ones interest a little more than the more generic American offerings. It’s a purely rose-tinted glasses based assertion I’m sure, but some Canuck-laden menace conjures up memories of the countries finest from Black Christmas to American Mary. With 13 Eerie, a glancing look at the cast raised some expectations as well with none other than Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) in the lead role, ably supported by Michael Shanks (Stargate) and Brendan Fehr (Roswell).
The storyline is actually pretty freakin’ insane, as six forensic trainee students are sent to a remote island (formerly 13 Eerie Strait Penitentiary) to locate dead bodies that have been removed from the morgue and placed in a variety of locations. In charge of the students is Professor Tomkins (Michael Shanks) who appears with a very assertive demeanour and details the rules in which the students have to abide by during their stay, as well as the exact nature of what they will be judged on.
The six students are competitively vying for two places in the much lauded forensic science program, which seems pretty simple, but it soon turns out that the bodies that Tomkins has stashed on the island aren’t the only cadavers out there. It transpires that when it was active, this island Penitentiary was used to undertake scientific experiments on the death row inmates, and that these stiffs are buried across the island. That’s ok though right? After all, these corpses would surely need some kind of re-animation process to bring them back to life… oh wait, is that a mysterious black gooey chemical compound I see there?
For the majority of zombie movies, the reason for them becoming creatures of the undead with always be an eye-rolling point of conjecture. In all honesty I think most people’s demands for a movie featuring the walking dead is a) are the zombies any good? b) will it sustain my interest? and c) is it gory? Contrary to UKHS tribal chief Andy’s review of this picture last year, I REALLY liked these zombies. They’re fairly ‘unusual’ in their appearance, almost old-fashioned, with quite non-descript facial features and standard green colouring. The movie sustained my interest mainly due to the high calibre of the actors involved, although admittedly the first half hour which would have been perfect to add a level of depth to the characters was lacking in any real development.
Finally, was it gory? Yes it was, and thoroughly deserving of its ‘18’ certification which is becoming quite the rarity in the home entertainment horror field. We get axes impaled in bodies, decapitations, crushed bodies, gaping wounds, bullets through the head – the works, and all with the camera lovingly refusing to cut away from the oozing brain fragments. 13 Eerie is certainly no masterpiece, and there are plenty of aspects to it that are ripe for criticism. In a post Walking Dead world where zombie movies are released weekly to snatch some coin from the coattails of the popular TV series, this is at least a film with elements of creativity that puts its rotting flesh above many of its contemporaries.