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– by Stephon White

With thousands of horror movies out there I am always still in search of the coveted gem of B movie horror. So, when I had the opportunity to review Investigation 13, I wholeheartedly leapt at the opportunity. Who doesn’t want to see Meg Foster slicing her way through a B movie flick? Lots of times these movies are made on a shoestring budget, but feature some of the most inventive horror moments. They say necessity is the mother of invention and that’s where some of the best concepts come from. So, when I decided to watch a copy of Investigation 13, having known horror veteran Meg Foster was involved, I couldn’t help but get that warm gooey feeling knowing I might be in store for some decidedly unorthodox kills.

Watching this one I couldn’t help playing one song over in my head “The thrill is gone, by B.B. King.” Investigation 13 has an interesting premise. It’s not unique, but it does take the time to build its setup. The story follows a group of filmmakers getting permission to document their stay at a decommissioned insane asylum. Typically, these setups vary and may involve documentary crew sneaking into said location versus getting permission. Investigation 13 spends time building a setup after introducing the crew of filmmakers made up of actors Stephanie Hernandez as Melanie, Patrick D. Flanagan as Jerod, Giordan Diaz as Nate, William Alexander as Terry, and Jessie Ramos as Ernie.

It’s also worth mentioning the film employs a flash forward in the opening sequence. So, we start out knowing just how wrong things will go for the filmmakers before they even get to start explaining the project. Spoilers! The group is f**ked! Said film project is aptly titled Investigation 13. This marks the filmmakers 13th investigation into the ghost world. It’s mentioning all the previous investigations were disasters. So, the crew is hoping to right their course with this one. This inherent conflict makes some of the crew mistrusting of one another and here again the film is investing in the setup.

After investing in the setup the filmmakers travel to the asylum and meet the caretaker of the facility, Layla Parish played by Meg Foster. It’s here where my horror spirit started to get elated at seeing what fiendish plans for murder Foster had been enlisted in the film to enact. I was hoping there was some murder clause buried in her contract. Sadly, there was not. The rest of the film cuts between this lackluster found footage look and animations showing the history of the asylum and one renowned patient with a penitent for murder known as the Mole Man.

This movie just doesn’t work for me. Why? Several reasons. Number one is because Meg Foster isn’t killing at all. She does bring that creepy as all outdoors vibe she’s known for, but besides that we are supposed to be afraid of a character whose horrendous deeds have been explained via a lot of animations. This brings me to my second reason for not enjoying this film. Every moment an animatic would play it elicited callbacks to the animations found in Billy Corben’s documentary chronicling the Miami drug trade, Cocaine Cowboys 2. In my opinion, those sequences are not effective at being scary enough to instill fear in the viewer. Why? Because for the most part, the Mole Man is depicted as the receiver of abuse. He’s the poster child for mommy and daddy beat me so now I kill. There is a subplot involving a relationship between Foster and the Mole Man. Unfortunately, it’s a last-minute twist that comes a little too late to save this film.

Recommended if you enjoyed: Session 9, Grave Encounters

FINAL GRADE: D

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