Investigation 13 is a terrifying and unique horror film. Combining traditional film techniques with comic book style animation, a very tragic story unfolds. Director Krisstian de Lara utilizes many forms of technology, including found-footage, surveillance cameras, hand-held cameras, and even smart glasses to get a personal feel of what the paranormal investigators see during this unfortunate adventure. The audience is left on the edge of their seats wondering if this group of young filmmakers will make it out alive.
Investigation 13 was very different from what I expected. When I first saw that there was animation, my thoughts went to, OMG is it that low budget? But quickly I realized that even if that was true, this is a really cool way to tell the back story of a very abused young man and get us up to speed as to what made him such a violent creature. The animation was well done and reminded me of a comic book, which I loved.
Synopsis: Investigation 13 is a new-age fright-fest chronicling the tale of a group of college science students investigating the urban legend of The Mole Man, an ex-patient named Leonard Craven, (Peter Aratari) said to still be residing within the walls of the Black Grove Asylum. When members of the group start going missing, they soon learn that this myth is more real than they thought, making this 13th investigation one they will come to regret.
Melanie, Jerod, Nate, Ernie, and Terry (Stephanie Hernandez, Patrick Flanagan, Giordan Diaz, Jesse Ramos, and William Alexander) are science students who believe they can scientifically prove ghosts exist.
Six years before, a blogger with a similar goal went to the abandoned Black Grove Psychiatric Asylum to investigate the legend of The Mole Man, a previous patient at the facility. When his footage was found, but he disappeared, the video went viral and no one ever saw him again. Now our group of college students has permission to spend the night at the very same crazy house to try and get ghostly footage of their own.
Any time people drive out in the middle of nowhere, in this case the Everglades, to spend the night locked inside an old abandoned hospital, it is almost guaranteed it will not go well. So, in that way, this film is not especially original. Yet Investigation 13 is a compelling film, basically because they do it well. Ever since the beginning of found footage films, starting with Blair Witch Project, people love to see what horrors others go through while watching it happen through the actual video footage.
When our ill-fated group gets to the asylum, they meet the creepy owner Layla Parrish, played fantastically by Meg Foster. I haven’t seen her in anything for a couple of years and it was great to see her working in horror again. Her eyes are amazing!
After getting video footage of Ms. Parrish telling the story of Leonard Craven and what people think happened here, Layla takes her payment and locks them in for the night.
The rest of the investigation, you need to see for yourself. Did they prove there are ghosts?
Well, Leonard Craven would have to be at least 90 years old to still be there and The Mole Man seemed much younger than that. One of the nurses at the hospital had experience with Native American magic and promised to help heal Leonard years before. Maybe he became immortal? In any case, The Mole Man was supernatural in some way.
There are many secrets the group was there to uncover- but did they find out too much?
I always look carefully at the SFX and they were all done bloody well! (Pun intended) In addition, the animations by Laz Martino were terrific. They really made the film fun to watch and told a horrific story about our pathetic poor Leonard Craven and the terrible treatment he received in his life.
Investigation 13 is not for the squeamish. Some parts are in black and white or out of focus, due to the hand-held effect, but there is enough blood and gore for any true horror fan. (One of my favorite scenes is an unattached leg, shoved into some door handles keeping them from opening – so cool!) Even though it is almost a given going in that things will not go well, there is still enough tension and action to keep the audience interested till the end.
Go on an investigation of your own. Investigation 13 is available on VOD and DVD September 10th from Uncork’d Entertainment.
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