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13: Game Of Death
cast: Krissada Terrence, Achita Wuthinounsurasit, Sarunyu Wongkrachang, and Nattapong Arunnate

director: Chukiat Sakveerakul

108 minutes (18) 2006
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Adam Hartley
With the rise in popularity in game shows it was only a matter of time until a film emerged about one. 13: Game Of Death (aka: 13 game sayawng) takes this idea one step further. Not so much about the game itself, more, how far would you actually go for money?

Based on a comic-book by Ekasit Thairat, 13: Game of Death sees Puchit, an office worker, take on 13 challenges in order to win 100 baht. After being fired from his job, down on his luck and owing money, he receives a phone call offering him the chance of a lifetime. The only catch is that the challenges will test every aspect of his being and push his morals to their limit. The challenges are of varying difficulty and start off quite tame, however, by the end your left wondering where the film turned and got so twisted. It eventually becomes apparent through flashbacks that all the challenges relate in some way to Puchit's life.

Described as a horror comedy thriller, there are actually some laughs before it becomes too shocking for words. Obvious comparisons can be drawn with the Saw series and Hostel films where characters are put into pressure-cooker scenarios and given a time limit to escape. This film, however, focuses more on the character than the situation. It examines how a person would feel when pitted against all the pressure and moral aspects of the situation. It does do this to some extent but in many cases it just becomes distracted with making the most disgusting film known to man.

climbing out of the well in 13: Game of Death

Despite being a generally disturbing film with a number of flaws, the main negative is actually quite inconsequential; it comes in the form of a ring-tone; possibly the most annoying ring tone in the world. 13: Game Of Death seems to have begun filming as an indie film then decided that it needed more of a 'Hollywood' type aspect. This really ruins the film as there are unexplained areas, including a deus ex machina type set-up and a seemingly omnipotent character running the game.

The acting is actually very good and does draw focus from the chaos of the challenges. The film does drag though and by the end you are left with a strange taste in your mouth, a taste that can only really be described as horror, disgust and a general bitterness about the whole experience.

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