Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
13 Cameras: When We Pretended to Care About Privacy
days, it is not just the Obama administration and the NSA who might be spying
on you. There are constant reports of landlords installing spy cameras. Renters
do have a legal expectation of privacy, but they often have to find the
offending devices themselves to enforce it. However, absolutely nobody in their
right minds should stick around long enough for this lessor to escalate his
perviness in Victor Zarcoff’s 13 Cameras (a.k.a. Slumlord, trailer here), which opens this Friday in Los Angeles.
is mega-pregnant and her somewhat younger husband Ryan is kind of okay with it.
Since they are starting a new life on the West Coast, they need a new home. The
house creepy Gerald is renting out looks perfect. It has brand new appliances
and a pool in the back. Yet in all honesty, his foul smell and anti-social
demeanor really should have scared them off. The suspiciously locked “owner’s
closet” also should set off warning bells. Of course, that is no closet, it is
the doorway to the soon-to-be sound-proofed basement.
to his spy cameras, Gerald quite enjoys watching Claire shower and Ryan secretly
hook-up with his assistant Hannah. He will lead her on, before breaking it off.
Tragically, her resulting Fatal
Attraction behavior makes her the perfect candidate for Gerald’s first
abduction. Everyone is too relieved to be done with her to ask questions.
Ryan is the sort of sniveling man-child that makes real men hate the rest of their
gender. Making the dude-lead somewhat unsympathetic is a refreshingly gutsy
call, but he is just odious to a ridiculous extreme. It is impossible to
understand what an attractive woman like Claire or Hannah would see in such a petulant,
the credibility issues extend to a seemingly universal lack of intuition on
everyone’s part. It is also hard to figure how several able-bodied adults in
their late twenties could fail to overwhelm the wheezing Gerald if they would
just stick together. Still, in all fairness, Neville Archambault is creepy as
all get-out as the sinister landlord. Brianne Moncrief’s Claire is believably
agitated as Claire, but she and PJ McCabe never develop any convincing
A year ago, 13 Cameras had
some attention on the genre festival circuit, but it seems like it is hitting
theaters well after its potential moment has passed. If people really cared
about surveillance and privacy, they would have embraced Rand Paul’s
presidential bid, because he was the only candidate who would have seriously
curtailed current practices—Obama being exhibit A of the “it’s okay when I’m in
charge” phenomenon. Without claims to zeitgeisty relevancy, 13 Cameras just feels icky without a
purpose. It is also one of those horror movies that end on a real downer note,
so don’t expect any catharsis. Not recommended, 13 Cameras opens tomorrow (4/15) in LA, at the Laemmle Music Hall.
Labels: Horror Movies