13: Fear Is Real (2009– )

TV Series  -  Horror | Reality-TV
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 290 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A new reality series that incorporates aspects from the horror movie genre.

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Title: 13: Fear Is Real (2009– )

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Herself - Contestant (8 episodes, 2009)
Ted Kirner ...
 Himself - Contestant (8 episodes, 2009)
Melyssa Nocar ...
 Herself - Contestant (7 episodes, 2009)
Adam Wood ...
 Adam / ... (7 episodes, 2009)
Cody Minshew ...
 Himself - Contestant (6 episodes, 2009)
Leah Lucas ...
 Herself - Contestant (6 episodes, 2009)
Rodney Craft ...
 Himself - Contestant (5 episodes, 2009)
Kelly Marquardt ...
 Herself - Contestant (4 episodes, 2009)
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A new reality series that incorporates aspects from the horror movie genre.

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Genres:

Horror | Reality-TV

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7 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

13 - Rettegés egyenes adásban  »

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What they don't know is, it sucks
18 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

13 looks like a home video of somebody's Halloween party: a back yard haunt coupled with a club initiation. Apparently none of the contestants has ever been to a Halloween store, so they're reduced to hysteria by things like plastic skulls and voices filtered through one of those you-can-talk-like-a-monster gizmos. Anyone can tell that all reality shows are partly faked up to make events look more interesting than they were (i.e. not at all), but this one has to be the fakest. For instance, we don't see exactly how the contestant "victims" end up in the dire circumstances they're in, but I'm pretty sure a serial torturer/killer didn't jump them, beat and ravish them, and drag them off screaming by the hair, but that the experience was closer to friendly stage hands gently leading them and carefully binding them ("I'm not hurting you, am I?").

I once saw a movie - there are probably several of them - in which a group of people is lured to a remote house and killed off one by one, only to discover (that is, those who are left discover) that they're participating in a reality webcast in which the players get killed. The ads for this show promised something approximating that. "They _think_" so and so, but "what they don't know" is something else. Well, it struck me right off the bat that the idea would only work for a couple of minutes, because as soon as they landed in the middle of the Blair Witch Project then they wouldn't not-know any more, they'd be on to it. But it turns out, predictably, that isn't how it is at all: they know from the outset what they're in for. How specifically they know is a mystery, because the show doesn't let them tell us.

This is TV's second attempt at a serial killer reality show; the first was a pseudo murder mystery. In that one, too, one contestant got "killed" every week. This seems to me a distasteful, and conceivably dangerous, form of role playing, but in any case it's one that can never pan out in practice, for the simple reason that the show can't really kill the contestants, can't even work up to the point of killing the contestants; all it can do is say "She's supposed to be dead now, okay?" If there were a way of getting the victims into position to be killed, leading them believe they would be, and then refraining at the last, then it would be delivering on its promise - but would also be repulsively sadistic, and probably illegal.

Years ago, I was watching a travel show in which a guy was tramping through the Brazilian rain forest or somewhere like it, talking about how frightening it was to be out there all alone, and then haggled with the captain of a steamer to book passage - just him - whereupon my mom, who's more acute than I am, commented, yeah, right, just him and the camera crew. This show is the same. The contestants are all being followed around everywhere they go, so if they're as hysterical as they're behaving, they're the stupidest contestants in reality show history. Actually, hysteria or not, they _are_ the stupidest contestants in reality show history; they make the sex-starved singles on those love-on-a-deserted-island reality shows look like the brain trust. But it's their stupidity that carries the show. They're reacting to provocations geared to about ten-year-olds; the only sensible thing to do with them would be to ignore them - which would mean no show.

The camera-work is atrocious, even allowing for the Blair Witch style: the angles are usually unrevealing, also ugly. The cutting is worse - which goes back to the shooting again; given what was there, the cutting may be a piece of brilliant salvage work. Not one contestant is TV-genic, and not one has anything clever or poignant to say - and that's by the standard of reality shows.

Sam Raimi has his name on this as a producer - I assume for the money. I have an idea: let's tie up him and the other producers and leave _them_ stranded in the woods for a good long time - say, four or five years. That would give them time to meditate on what the makings of a good show would be and to work it out in some detail. Then, when we untied them, all they'd have left to do is make the show - which would be bound to improve on this one by a million times.

Anybody else up for 13: Revenge of the Viewers?


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