Sometimes, I want to sit down and be creeped out but not really horrified; I can’t help it, I still enjoy those movies or TV shows that just give you that “something isn’t right” weird factor that both makes you uneasy and makes you think. Curling up in front of a marathon of The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery episodes sometimes appeals to me more than a Romero triple-feature…but just sometimes. =)
Locker 13 is a new film that I’ve had the opportunity to check out that fits in this “creepy-thoughtful” niche.
Released by Arc Entertainment, the film is an anthology of four stories and a wrap-around peripherally connected by lockers numbered thirteen. The film starts out a bit different than I expected and caught my interest early on; a somewhat wizened (and somewhat wise-assed) night janitor at a wild-west attraction, passing on life lessons to the new hire, a Charlie Manson-wannabe ex-con working his first night of his parole job. The older guy’s preachy, but in that good-ol’-boy kinda way, although the new guy can’t seem to express his lack of interest enough. Each little bit of wisdom about the importance of “knowing thyself” and “making the right decisions” that the old cowboy passes on takes the shape of a story; the first of which follows a has-been boxer that is given a second chance, but at a terrible price. The second is a melodramatic twist on the old “secret society” initiation that takes a dark and perilous twist. The third tells us the tale of a man ready to end his life, but finds himself unexpectedly (and unwillingly) amongst an elite group. The fourth chapter picks up with three women, all in love with the same murdered man, forced by a hit man to reveal which of them loved him little enough to pay for his death. The final, wrap-around story eventually confirms the old cowboy’s assertions that knowing one’s self and making the right choices are paramount to a healthy, happy life, but in a very twisted manner (hey, he told the new guy not to touch his locker!)
Any effort to review each of these individually would create a high probability of spoilers and likely bore the hell out of you; if you’re interested, you’d rather see them for yourself than suffer my summaries, anyway.
What I will say is that although you’ve seen a lot of these types of stories before (think The Outer Limits more so than Tales From The Darkside), Locker 13 comes across as entertaining for the most part; a couple of the segments may still surprise you with circumstances, even if you see the resolutions coming. I particularly enjoyed the first chapter and the wraparound (the adage of “no good deed going unpunished” in the former and the irony of the latter were delicious), but all five of the tales were well written, acted, and executed (the weakest link of these would be the third one: just a little too easy to see coming). There’s a list of familiar faces in the cast (Ricky Schroder, Krista Allen, Jon Gries, Rick Hoffman, and Jon Polito, just to name a few) that give the flick some meat to work with, each actor convincing and no one “phoning it in”. Overall, the direction, sets, lighting and camera work was well done; production value seemed pretty high all around for a lower-budgeted outing. As far as the red stuff; there’s a little violence, but no real gore to speak of, so the hounds will be left kinda flat; this film moves more on its ironic situations and moral dilemmas for its appeal.
So in short, you’re not really gonna see any new ideas in this one, but I personally did find that by and large the ways the stories were presented was fun; I’m not saying it’s necessarily become a new favorite of mine, but I don’t feel cheated for the time I spent watching it, either.
If you’re looking for a down and dirty, blood and guts horror flick, this isn’t it; I wouldn’t call this a horror movie any more that I would call One Step Beyond a horror television show. It’s got a creep factor, but that’s as far as the “scary” element goes; however, I wouldn’t dare count it completely out for that reason; I know that there’s plenty of stuff out there that’s not “pure horror” that I and many of you Fellow Fans still find value in.
If you like anthology-type films and/or any of the old television shows I mentioned, I think you’ll find this flick isn’t a waste of time. It’s not my typical fare, but I certainly don’t regret watching it.
My fifth of a dime for this one, guys.
LOCKER 13 is available April 29th from ARC Entertainment. Order now at the link below.