5 user 4 critic

13 Gantry Row (1998)

R | | Thriller, Horror | TV Movie
After buying a house, a woman's life is threatened by sinister events that occurred in the house a century previously.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Adam ...
Doris Younane ...
Mark Gerber ...
Mr. Hob
Tony Llewellyn-Jones ...
Dr. Harper
Ron Graham ...
Loans Manager
Syd Conabere ...
Fred Lang
Julie Herbert ...
Merle Lang
Detective #1
Nicholas Opolski ...
Detective #2
Les Foxcroft ...


After buying a house, a woman's life is threatened by sinister events that occurred in the house a century previously.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Evil has a new address.


Thriller | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some sexuality | See all certifications »

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Also Known As:

Les traces du mal  »

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Did You Know?


When the husband and wife open the trap door in the floor, a large cloud of dust billows into the air. In the next shot the dust cloud has disappeared. See more »

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User Reviews

The Amityville Horror meets House Hunters/This Old House
31 March 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

After a brief prologue showing a masked man stalking and then slashing the throat of an older gentleman on a deserted, urban, turn of the century Australian street, we meet Julie (Rebecca Gibney) and Peter (John Adam) as they go out house hunting. They manage to get a loan for a fixer-upper on a posh Sydney street, but it turns out that physical disrepair is not the only problem with their new home. It just may be haunted.

13 Gantry Row combines a memorable if somewhat clichéd story with good to average direction by Catherine Millar into a slightly above average shocker.

The biggest flaws seem partially due to budget, but not wholly excusable to that hurdle. A crucial problem occurs at the beginning of the film. The opening "thriller scene" features some wonky editing. Freeze frames and series of stills are used to cover up the fact that there's not much action. Suspense should be created from staging, not fancy "fix it in the mix" techniques. There is great atmosphere in the scene from the location, the lighting, the fog and such, but the camera should be slowly following the killer and the victim, cutting back and forth from one to the other as we track down the street, showing their increasing proximity. The tracking and the cuts need to be slow. The attack needed to be longer, clearer and better blocked. As it stands, the scene has a strong "made for television" feel, and a low budget one at that.

After this scene we move to the present and the flow of the film greatly improves. The story has a lot of similarities to The Amityville Horror (1979), though the budget forces a much subtler approach. Millar and scriptwriter Tony Morphett effectively create a lot of slyly creepy scenarios, often dramatic in nature instead of special effects-oriented, such as the mysterious man who arrives to take away the old slabs of iron, which had been bizarrely affixed to an interior wall.

For some horror fans, the first section of the film might be a little heavy on realist drama. At least the first half hour of the film is primarily about Julie and Peter trying to arrange financing for the house and then trying to settle in. But Morphett writes fine, intelligent dialogue. The material is done well enough that it's often as suspenseful as the more traditional thriller aspects that arise later--especially if you've gone through similar travails while trying to buy your own house.

Once they get settled and things begin to get weirder, even though the special effects often leave much to be desired, the ideas are good. The performances help create tension. There isn't an abundance of death and destruction in the film--there's more of an abundance of home repair nightmares. But neither menace is really the point.

The point is human relationships. There are a number of character arcs that are very interesting. The house exists more as a metaphor and a catalyst for stress in a romantic relationship that can make it go sour and possibly destroy it. That it's in a posh neighborhood, and that the relationship is between two successful yuppies, shows that these problems do not only afflict those who can place blame with some external woe, such as money or health problems. Peter's character evolves from a striving corporate employee with "normal" work-based friendships to someone with more desperation as he becomes subversive, scheming to attain something more liberating and meaningful. At the same time, we learn just how shallow those professional friendships can be. Julie goes through an almost literal nervous breakdown, but finally finds liberation when she liberates herself from her failing romantic relationship.

Although 13 Gantry Row never quite transcends its made-for-television clunkiness, as a TV movie, this is a pretty good one, with admirable ambitions. Anyone fond of haunted house films, psycho films or horror/thrillers with a bit more metaphorical depth should find plenty to enjoy. It certainly isn't worth spending $30 for a DVD (that was the price my local PBS station was asking for a copy of the film after they showed it (factoring in shipping and handling)), but it's worth a rental, and it's definitely worth watching for free.

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