Gary, and his friends who are into gaming, renaissance fairs and various unsavory vices, stumble across a rare, medieval board game called "13 Demons." They discover the game has a dark ...
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Scott Di Lalla
Gary, and his friends who are into gaming, renaissance fairs and various unsavory vices, stumble across a rare, medieval board game called "13 Demons." They discover the game has a dark history and was banned from most countries long ago for strange and mysterious reasons including unexplained deaths attributed to the game. The object is to free the Realm of Darkhaven from the 13 Demons of the Apocalypse. They chalk it up to urban legend and decide to play, what they don't know is that the 13 Demons presently walk the Earth disguised as humans. Slowly, the game consumes them, seducing them into believing they are "The Golden Paladins," and are on a holy mission to save the world. But when the news reveals a number of local deaths caused by tree branches, baseball bats, hammers, etc. from assailants adorned in body armor, the thin line between reality and fantasy is shattered and the horrific realization that they are in way over their heads sets in.
I always feel compelled to give a shout out to movies that pleasantly surprise me, and this is one. I almost didn't watch it, because the box cover makes it look like a cut-rate "Warcraft". It is most definitely not that.
"13 Demons" is really the spiritual successor to movies like "Mazes & Monsters", in that it marries the D&D panic of the early 80s with a more general fear of what happens when nerds go berserk. I will say that the structure of the film is problematic, in that it spells out the entire plot in the first five minutes, and doesn't provide any grand revelations. What is left, then, is a character study.
Fortunately, I found this film very compelling in that regard. The three main actors (one of whom is the director) quickly transition from broad stoner stereotypes to more interesting, obsessive personalities. The arc of their transformation is interesting to watch, and they play well off of one another. The dialog, which appears to cause some people consternation, rang very true to a gamer and general nerd from the 80s, and the delivery of said dialog was top notch.
I would never claim that the film is without flaws -- it has some very jarring issues. Somebody went absolutely nuts with the fake sweat, to the point that it is actually distracting. The two main characters are very difficult to distinguish at the beginning of the movie, as they both appear very similar when smeared in blood. And, as previously mentioned, the first 10-15 minutes of the movie can be a slog because of the annoying stoner stereotypes.
That said, I was absolutely pleasantly surprised by this film. I thought the acting was positively stellar, and I am willing to forgive a lot for films in the "Satanic Panic" sub-sub-subgenre. And, since I was expecting "World of Fightcraft", I was absolutely delighted to discover an entertaining, subtle character film.
And, yes, I realize that it does not speak well of me that I was willing to watch "World of Fightcraft".
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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