The Curator of Schlock #222 by Jeff Shuster
This is a gross one, folks.
No Friday the 13th movies this Friday the 13th. I thought about going with the 2009 remake, but 2009 isn’t 2010 and I am committed to digging for schlock from this decade no matter what the cost. We could have had another Friday the 13th movie this decade, but Paramount studios took a bath on the Ring sequel, Rings, and have now forsworn the production of any new horror movies including another reboot of Friday the 13th.
I’ll have to find out what went wrong with Rings.
Not to worry. I’ve got 2016’s 13 Cameras from director Victor Zarcoff for your consideration this weekend. It’s on Netflix. It has 13 in the title. Good enough.
The movie begins with a clerk in a home security store giving the hard sell to a disgusting looking man. Seriously, this guy has patchy hair, oily skin, the frame of a goblin, and dead man’s eyes. I don’t like him. Granted, one in seven Floridians look just like this guy, but that doesn’t mean I’m used to it. His name is Gerald (Neville Archambault). He’s a landlord who rents properties in a California suburb. The clerk manages to sell him thirteen cameras to install in one of his properties, all out of sight and hidden.
Said property gets rented to a young man named Ryan (PJ McCabe) and his pregnant wife, Claire (Brianne Moncrief). Claire gets a little creeped out by Gerald as he lets them into their new home. Maybe it’s the fact that he smells like “rotten mayonnaise.” Ryan assures Claire that Gerald just won’t show up to their house out of the blue, that he has to give 24 hours’ notice. What Ryan and Claire are unaware of is that there are cameras everywhere! There’s even one in the bathroom! As Claire undresses and showers, a mouth breathing Gerald sits transfixed in front of his array of monitors. Ewwww.
I remember and episode of Errol Morris’s First Person documentary series that centered on a guy who had cameras all over his apartment. He would broadcast his life on the Internet for the entire world to see and comment on in the forums of his website. If he had a fight with his live-in girlfriend, members of the forum would debate over who was in the right. They’d also rejoice when they kissed and made up. I suppose people were living vicariously through him, but I was always disturbed by one aspect of this gentleman’s voyeuristic lifestyle. He has a camera installed in his toilet. Best not to dwell on why someone would tune into that camera feed.
Back to 13 Cameras. Ryan is having an affair with his office assistant, Hannah (Sarah Baldwin). He keeps inviting Hannah over to house while Claire is out attending pregnant women’s yoga sessions. Don’t worry. He’ll still let Claire have their Italian dinner leftovers. Hannah keeps calling at all hours of the night. Ryan wants to call the affair off.
13 Cameras reminds me of Peyton Place if Peyton Place had a sweaty, troll-like man (1) watching the beautiful people through hidden cameras and (2) building a soundproof torture room in the basement of their house while the husband and wife are out shopping for an antique rocking chair. Check it out!