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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
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Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
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Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

March 17, 2008
RATING: 7/10
The winner of several awards in its native Thailand, Chookiat Sakveerakul's 13: Game of Death (based on a Thai graphic novel called My Mania) is not just a fine entrant into the world of Asian horror, but something of a treatise on the condition of the working slob's daily grind. Actually, despite its inclusion in the Dimension Extreme catalogue, the film is really more of a suspense-thriller than a horror movie, and the actual gore and body count contained between opening and closing credits is fairly limited. But 13 is a smart and entertaining experience, even if its running time of almost two hours is a bit lengthy.

The story centers around Puchit, a hard-on-his-luck salesman who is barely scraping by as an office drone, constantly being usurped by a fellow employee and not meeting his sales quotas. Finally, he's called into the boss's office and forced to resign. Just as he has reached his lowest point, he receives a mysterious phone call telling him that he's been selected to participate in a game show, the premise of which is that he must complete a series of 13 tasks. With each task he completes, more and more money is deposited into his bank account. Things start out relatively benign, although definitely sinister, with Puchit being required to first kill a fly and then eat it. From there, however, things get weirder and weirder, as he must eat a platter of shit (a truly gag-inducing scene), make children cry, and perform more and more violent and intricately constructed tasks. One of the most extreme involves a group of kids on motorcycles careening down a highway towards a metal wire strung across the road at neck level. You can probably figure out what happens from there. All the while, the police are hot on his trail, as is a female coworker who seems to have a soft spot in her heart for Puchit.


In effect, the film becomes not just an exploration of visceral horror and disgusting behavior, but an introspective look at the plight of the working class. Faced with the prospect of being locked into a shitty job for the rest of his life and doomed to a future of scraping by, Puchit deliberates for only a second before accepting the vague terms of this bizarre and immoral game. But considering the alternative, a life of servitude, his involvement in the macabre appears to be far from the least enticing of his limited options.

Set in Bangkok and its environs, 13 is also interesting in that it affords American viewers a glimpse of filmmaking from a country most likely have limited experience with. While elements of films like the Saw series and David Fincher's The Game are present, 13: Game of Death is truly unique and worth a viewing for anyone who can stand a little tension and gore.

SEE ALSO: www.dimensionextreme.com

--
Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.

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