Horror: 13 Game of Death
This intense horror / thriller from Thailand really surprised me. Despite the absurdity of the plot, which revolves around an online ‘reality’ game which must be something of a logistical nightmare to pull off, 13 GAME OF DEATH is actually a very entertaining, albeit stomach churning, movie.
Pusit finds himself at the end of his financial and emotional tether. His car has been repossessed, he’s still coming to terms with the end of his last relationship, his mother is calling asking for money and, to top it all off, he’s just been fired from his job. Pusit is the perfect candidate for a game that he’s never heard of. Just as he’s hitting rock bottom, Pusit’s phone rings and the voice on the other end invites him to play a game. The challenges start out quite simple, and if he can make it through all thirteen ‘games’, all of Pusit’s financial woes will disappear. However, even at the early stages there’s a twisted element to these challenges; swat a fly and 10,000 baht ($450ish AUD) will be deposited into his account, eat the fly and more money will be added.
Soon though, the challenges begin to resonate with Pusit, and it becomes clear that the faceless organizer of this reality / games show know quite a bit about Pusit’s childhood and that these games are intended to evoke memories of unpleasant experiences from his past. But with 100 million baht on the line, Pusit swallows his pride — and some other, fairly disgusting things — in pursuit of the cash.
There are attempts along the way to weave a social message into it, but you’re going to have to forgive some pacing issues and the flawless execution of the utterly implausible concept that is this whole underground reality show, before you start looking to read too much into this film. That said, solid performances and competent direction make up for anything lacking in these other areas though.
The only thing I found really disappointing about this film was what appeared to have been a neglected subplot involving the ‘game’ organizers and Police corruption, however this may be addressed in the sequel which is set for release (in Thailand) fairly soon… If not, perhaps the english version will address this (and other) shortcomings, as the rights to remake 13 Game of Death have already been purchased by The Weinstein Company. Personally, while I’ll be interested to see the remake, I wouldn’t bother waiting for it. 13 Game of Death (aka 13 Beloved, and 13 game sayawng) is a pretty good popcorn horror / thriller as it stands and is certainly better than the recent Hollywood offering EAGLE EYE, which was obviously inspired by this film, even if it didn’t credit it. [source]