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Film / 13 Sins

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Thirteen tasks. Six million dollars. What would you do?

13 Sins. also known as 13: Game of Death is a 2014 American Horror-Thriller film, directed by Daniel Stamm, starring Mark Webber and Ron Perlman. The film is a remake of a 2006 Thai comedy horror film 13 Beloved.

Mark Webber stars as Elliot Brindle, a meek and extremely passive man with a pregnant fiancee (played by Rutina Wesley), a mentally handicapped brother (portrayed by Devon Graye), and a dead end job. Shortly after he's fired from his insurance sales job, he receives a mysterious phone call with a ringtone of Entrance of the Gladiators. The man on the line tells him that he's part of a new and exciting game show, and he can win $1000 by killing the fly in his car. He's then offered more money to eat the fly. And then he gets more challenges, each worse than the last, with him only getting the fortune if he completes all 13. Soon, he's too far in to get back out, having committed several crimes, and he learns that there's another competitor, and only one of them can win...

It premiered at the 2014 SXSW film festival and was released theatrically in the United States on April 18, 2014. This was the final film appearance of George Coe before his death in 2015.

This film exhibits the following:

  • Agony of the Feet: The police captain gets shot in the foot when he tries to take the gun off Elliot.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The conspiracy theorist's notes imply that The Game has been run since Ancient Greece.
  • An Arm and a Leg: One of Elliot's challenges is to amputate the arm of his Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up. He does.
  • Barely Missed Cushion: Elliot jumps out of the window of the police station, attempting to make a Trash Landing in a dumpster in the alley. However, he misses the open half of the dumpster, and bounces off the lid on the closed side.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Elliot killed his brother in self-defense, sustained several stab wounds, while he is credited as the winner of the game, he unfortunately forfeits all that money by killing Chilcoat and then it appears his wife joins the Deadly Game... except she doesn't! Elliot collapses laughing happily, while he may have committed several criminal challenges and may even die. He's at the very least ecstatic to know that his wife is safe and won't be going through the things he did.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: Shelby ties Elliot's tie for him when he goes in for an interview with his boss that he thinks is going to result in a promotion.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Elliot repeatedly smashes a chair over Witter's brother's head in the hospital before he even realizes it's one of the challenges.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Vogler has been tracking the history of the Game for years, and believes that it is an entertainment for the super-rich, and has been running since Ancient Greece. The ending indicates he may be right.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Subverted! At the end it turns out Elliot's wife got challenged as well, but she declined to eat the fly and threw it away. The movie ends with Elliot sporting a relieved smile in response to this.
  • Deadly Game: The game starts with innocuous, if disgusting challenges. It moves to indirect murder, then requires killing a family member.
  • Eat That: It seems the standard second challenge, after the person has killed the fly, is to have them eat it. Sometime the fly is a dog if the theorist's story about his wife is true.
  • Excrement Statement: Elliot's challenge to wreck the rehearsal dinner includes the stipulation that he has to urinate into one of the table centerpieces.
  • Extreme Doormat: Elliot is one at the start of the movie, being completely subservient to the needs of his father, his brother and his boss.
  • Fingore: In the opening scene, Professor Solomon hacks the finger off the hostess of his testimonial dinner with a steak knife.
  • A God Am I: The conspiracy theorist believes that this is the motivation behind the Game. They want to turn people into monsters to show how powerful they are. It's not even a Humans Are Bastards mentality; they reward Elliot's malicious acts with praise and money, and punish him when he tries to marginalize the consequences.
  • Just Following Orders: The Game's cleaner says that he's just doing his job and killing a nobody like him will just make Elliot lose everything. But to Elliot, at least one of the game's perpetrators is here, and it's all that matters to him.
  • The Mole: It's implied that a large number of people are involved in the Game, including people high up in authority. Chilcoat seems to be a reasonable authority figure, trying to figure out the game, but they're actually a cleaner for the Games.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: At one point, Elliot is charged to take a man out to coffee. The man is dead before Elliot even gets there, necessitating the trope.
  • Off with His Head!: A group of motorcyclists are decapitated (and lose limbs) to a Razor Floss steel cable stretched across the road.
  • Razor Floss: One of the challenges involves a metal wire strung across a busy road where some motorcyclists are bribed to drive through at high speed, leading to them losing their heads over it.
  • The Reveal: For the last challenge, Elliot finds out his brother Michael is the second contestant and their father played the game years before, killing their mother in order to pass his 13th challenge. Elliot takes this about as well as you'd expect.
  • Roadside Surgery: One of Elliot's challenges involves him amputating the arm of a former classmate in a seedy motel.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Jon Witter and his brother used to pick on Elliot during middle school, including dangling him out the computer lab window. Neither of them has improved in attitude when he meets them as adults. Elliot cuts the arm off one of them and smashes a chair over the head of the other.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Professor Solomon, having just hacked a woman's finger off, is shot by a security guard when he reaches into his jacket for his phone.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Some of the things Elliot is asked to do are extremely ridiculous. Others are horrific.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: The underground game show. Elliot and other contestants start off doing relatively harmless but malicious acts for huge sums of money, only for the acts to increase in depravity until they include mass-murder and familicide. Elliot manages to draw the line at murdering innocents, but willingly participates in vigilante murder of other contestants and the game's workers.
  • Standard Snippet: Elliot's phone and that of anyone involved in the game plays "Entrance of the Gladiators" when the organizers of the game call him.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: While wrecking the rehearsal dinner, Elliot keeps the security guards at bay by holding a serving fork to his own throat and threatening to stab himself.
  • String Theory: Vogler, the Conspiracy Theorist, has a chart in his RV where he uses string to map out the history of the Game.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: Played with. Elliot thinks that quitting will lose him all of the money. A conspiracy theorist who's been tracking the game says that people who quit early get killed off, so it's not actually an example if that's true.
    • Once he did 6 challenges, he would get 10 years of jail time minimum if he quit, or would spend the rest of his life on the lam. Not to mention what would happen to Shelby either way. But after the 12th challenge, Elliot has had enough and throws the phone away... except the other contestant isn't done.
  • Super Window Jump: Averted. Elliot actually throws a chair through the window of the police station to smash out the glass before jumping.
  • Trash Landing: Subverted. Elliot jumps out of the window of the police station, aiming for a dumpster in the alley. However, he misses the open half of the dumpster, and bounces off the lid on the closed side.
  • Wedding Smashers: Avoided. It's the rehearsal dinner where all of the carnage happens.
  • White Mask of Doom: The bus that transports Elliot to the motel is driven by a mysterious clown wearing a featureless white mask.