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13: Game Of Death (2006)

DVD Cover (Dimension Extreme)
Genres:
Horror, Psychological Thriller, Sadistic Horror
Director:
Chookiat Sakveerakul Chookiat Sakveerakul
Starring:
Krissada Sukosol Krissada Sukosol
Achita Sikamana Achita Sikamana
Sarunyu Wongkrachang Sarunyu Wongkrachang
Nattapong Arunnate Nattapong Arunnate
Namfon Pakdee Namfon Pakdee

6.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: March 29, 2008
Taking plenty of notes from the hottest shows on television, 13: Game of Death is a biting satire that shows what reality television would look like if you mixed together elements of Big Brother, Survivor, and Fear Factor. The difference here is that in this particular game, there are no boundaries of decency or good taste, and the creators will force the players to do some insane shit in order to claim their prizes. Jesus, I can't wait for shows like this to pop up on prime time programming.

Phuchit (Krissada Terrence) is the latest contestant in this online game, and he couldn't have been offered this opportunity any sooner. You see, the man has just been laid off from his job, his car has been repoed, his girlfriend has left him, and his mom is hounding him for money so that she can put his sister through school. So, when a stranger calls him and tells him that he can earn about three hundred dollars for simply swatting a fly, well... who wouldn't do that? When the voice on the other end of the phone tells him that he'll receive an additional five hundred dollars for eating the gooey remains of this fly, Phuchit goes right along with it. These are the equivalent of the hundred-dollar questions on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in that they're simply warm up rounds; there's eleven additional challenges that Phuchit must face if he wants to win the entire one hundred million baht that is the grand prize, and they run the gamut from disgusting to humiliating to deadly.

Obviously, I'm not going to spell out everything that our leading man has to do in order to claim his prize; half the fun of the movie is riding along with him as we find out what he needs to do in order to reach the next milestone in the game, so to give away too much in that regard would cheapen the film. Suffice it to say that things get nasty very quickly, and the movie isn't subtitled as being a Game of Death for nothing. What makes the film even more intriguing than it already would have been is the fact that most of these tasks directly connect with events in Phuchit's life; for example, when he has to do "this", that task is based on a traumatic experience from his childhood. How do these people know these things, and why do they take such great delight in watching him suffer? Again, that's a part of the mystery that is best solved by watching the movie.

I particularly enjoyed the way that the film presented the leading man with the tasks in that most of them weren't clearly spelled out for him. At times, he's merely given hints and he has to then sort of guess as to what is expected of him, so this is another part of the puzzle that we at home get to figure out along the way. As an added bonus, the tasks were fairly original and most were convincing; sure, there were a couple of moments that require some suspension of disbelief by the audience, but these are few and far between and none of these moments are so bad as to ruin the film for us.

Making an already enjoyable film even better is leading man Krissada Terrence, who gives an incredible performance even with the subtitles turned on. Obviously, you're not going to understand the actual words that come out of his mouth unless you speak Thai, and as such, grading his acting abilities based on that is a bit difficult. However, he has no difficulties expressing himself through his mannerisms and facial expressions, and even with the subtitles turned off, it's painfully obvious what he's thinking and going through simply by watching his face. He plays the part of the everyman with ease, and it's difficult for us watching at home not to rally behind him and feel sympathetic towards him... up until a point, anyway. The female in his life (Achita Wuthinounsurasit) is also quite convincing in her role, but her screen presence is severely limited by the general nature of the storyline.

Overall, 13: Game of Death has rekindled my interest in Thai cinema after a long string of stinkers from that country. The general concept may not be entirely original, but the way that the events are handled are anything but derivative and the film will stick with you for quite some time. A perfect film? Not quite, but it's damned close. 9/10.
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grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 05/23/2008, 02:48 AM
I'm so bummed that this is slated for an American remake.. This movie was so unexpectedly awesome after the dumps of Sick Nurses and Art of the Devil 2..
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 01/04/2009, 02:46 PM
Woa, completely different than what I thought it was going to be. That's both a good and a bad thing. But still, not bad at all. 8/10 for me. Very solid flick.
missbexxie #3: missbexxie - added 09/05/2009, 01:57 PM
Loved this one! I have no idea whether or not it was meant to be amusing as well as sick, but I found myself laughing through some portions of it - the actor who took the main part had these incredible facial expressions, especially during "that lunch" (saying no more here for fear of spoilers!) I'm a huge fan of Japanese horror and not keen on remakes, so I'm shocked to hear that this one's slated for that treatment. Noooo! Anyway, 8/10 from me.
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