From time to time, I enjoy watching lesser-known indie horror films. I browse to see what’s out there and pick one to watch. About 90% of them turn out to be low-budget productions, but I also have an appreciation for cheap B-horror scares. Most of them come with a touch of humor. However, in the remaining 10%, you can find some fantastic gems, and “13 Cameras” is one of them. Also known as “Slumlord,” it’s one of the most intriguing horror-thrillers I’ve seen recently. It’s also one of the most psychedelic works I’ve seen lately. The idea is presented to you right from the beginning of the film, so you start watching, wondering what will happen next, and you become engulfed in curiosity. The possibilities are wide open. The film’s director, Victor Zarcoff, makes a successful debut with “13 Cameras,” his first feature film. He stays loyal to the concept and executes it brilliantly.
Let’s briefly touch on the plot… At the beginning of the film, we see the couple Paul and Claire moving into a new house. Gerald, the owner of the house, is the kind of creepy character you wouldn’t want to get close to when looking at him from the outside. The couple is informed that the house is available, and Gerald leaves. Or so they think. Gerald has actually installed cameras all over the house. He sits in his dark room all day, watching what happens in the house. When they leave, he enters the house and adds new cameras to blind spots. Why Gerald is doing this is unclear. He’s a kind of voyeur watching family problems from the outside. He’s creating his own reality show. This mute voyeur, who gazes at Claire in the shower with an eerie fascination, eventually becomes part of the family’s life. Because Gerald sees something on the cameras that Claire should never see.
In terms of the screenplay, the film is a complete mystery. You learn at the beginning of the film that the house is equipped with cameras. Like Hitchcock, we, the audience, find out the cause of tension. But the victims are oblivious to it. While getting to know the family, you also continuously encounter Gerald, and at some point, you ask yourself: What is this man’s purpose? Why is he just watching? Why doesn’t he take advantage of these cameras and harm the people in the house?
The answer is simple. He doesn’t actually have a purpose. He’s just a pervert. He’s one of the best pervert types you’ll see in recent times. Neville Archambault, who plays Gerald, delivers an award-worthy performance. Even Gerald’s gaze alone will make you uncomfortable. The director has done a fantastic job with character development here. All the characters are well-crafted. Especially the pervert, single-handedly, takes the film to the very end.
I can claim that “13 Cameras” is an anti-classic film. Although it hasn’t been widely discovered due to its independent nature, the film is particularly unique in terms of the screenplay. Director Victor Zarcoff deserves congratulations for creating a minimalist yet ambitious work for his first feature film. It keeps you guessing and goes in an unpredictable direction. It’s far from clichéd. Gerald’s extra camera installations and monitoring of the family as the main story, combined with the additional storyline of Claire and Paul’s life problems, eventually intersect to create an interesting finale.
In conclusion, “13 Cameras,” also known as “Slumlord,” is one of the most unique horror-thriller films you can watch in recent times. The director has delivered a minimalist yet ambitious work for his first feature film. It has a screenplay that continues within the bounds of logic and has a tasteful cinematography. It features a well-executed portrayal of a pervert who constantly spies on the family in the house with hidden cameras, and there’s no underlying motive. Just pure perversion. For this idea alone, it’s fantastic. If you’re looking to try an unusual film, “13 Cameras” is the one for you.
Cast & Crew
director: Victor Zarcoff
writers: Victor Zarcoff
starring: PJ McCabe, Sean Carrigan, Sarah Baldwin, Neville Archambault
USA | 2015 | 87 MINUTES |