Directed by Richard LeMay [Other horror films: Blood Bound (2019)]
I wasn’t really expecting much from this remake, but I was pleasantly surprised, at least for a bit. It certainly had the chance to be an okay slasher/mystery, but it sort of loses my interest as soon as overt supernatural events come into play.
To be clear, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Dementia 13. I thought it made for an okay proto-slasher, and it did have a better, more gloomy atmosphere than this did, but there was room for improvement. This movie looks like it’s going in that direction, but then throws in ghosts and such, which is not what I call an improvement at all. It could have remained a grounded slasher-mystery and I’d have been content, but that ending, along with the small supernatural stuff sprinkled in along the way, just spoils everything, as Sansa would say.
Before it shoots itself in the head, though, Dementia 13 is okay. I thought most of the performances were decent, the film had a few hints of humor throughout, and the setting was pretty good. It didn’t have the same charm or ominous nature the original did, but it was doing well for itself.
Steve Polites had virtually no character. To be honest, it took me a little bit to figure out he wasn’t a child of the mother and actually one of the daughter’s husbands, which isn’t anything against him as an actor, but his character just didn’t have much to give us. Ana Isabelle was pretty stereotypical, which I’m guessing was called for in the script. She was attractive, though, so there’s that. Lastly, on the negative side, Julia Campanelli didn’t really do much for me, and came across as generic.
The others did reasonably well, though. Channing Pickett had the good-girl look down solid, Christian Ryan had a somewhat predictable but fun arc, Roland Sands made for a decent red herring, and Donal Brophy needed more character, but he was pretty solid the time he was on-screen. Marianne Noscheze and Ben van Berkum were my favorite characters here. Noscheze started off being a bit of a brat, but Berkum’s character throughout was good humor value.
Most of the kills here weren’t really that great, and I don’t think that this would have been a new-age classic had they gotten rid of the unnecessary supernatural elements, but I do think it could have been a decently enjoyable and competent slasher that I wouldn’t hesitate to revisit.
With the addition of ghosts (which is something that horror remakes don’t need to do – the 1999 House on Haunted Hill wasn’t any better than the original because they added ghosts, and the same is definitely true for this), though, just makes the film ultimately blah, and not really worth going out of your way for, which is a damn shame.