Dementia 13 : Richard LeMay’sDementia 13 may be a remake of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1963 film of the same name, but this up-and-coming horror flick attempts to modernize the classic story with a fresh cast and new scares. The plot revolves around the estranged Halorans, who meet up at an old family property to observe the death of a younger sister who drowned nearly twenty years ago. Things take a turn for the paranormal when blood begins to spill on the grounds of the ghostly castle, and a child’s laughter echoes through the empty halls.
All in the Family: The cast of characters we have the misfortune of meeting in Dementia 13 are about as interesting as the decaying walls of the grounds they inhabit. The members of the Halloran clan are indistinguishable from one another in terms of personality traits, and as far as chemistry goes, the CGI specters come off as more believable. Comprised of a slightly delusional mother (Julia Campanelli), a dull “virtuous” sister, a not-so-virtuous sister, and a brother who vacates in and out of the narrative, the family dynamic doesn’t come off as tragically strained or worth preserving. It’s a tired, empty void that should have been better fleshed out if any semblance of care were to be given to the fate of these characters.
If Castle Walls Could Talk: Probably the only impressive quality of this lackluster film is the genuine attempt at creating an atmosphere of mysterious dread. The seemingly haunted castle that the Halloran siblings battle to inherit from their dying mother is situated within marshy green acres that definitely give off a feeling of isolation. Leering grey statues decorate the perimeter of the property and actually cause more chills than the ghostly occurrences inside the estate, iron gates stand tall against the misty air, and it’s such a shame that the perfect environment for a psychological horror is ruined once any of the main characters step into the shot.
Terrible Terror: What would a horror film be without a few good scares? Unfortunately, this appears to be the case for Dementia 13, which is ironic since there’s a lot going on in terms of immediate threat. So much so that it seems like the writers were playing a game of Mad Libs to come up with the next plot point: a group of robbers with (noun) invade the castle and get attacked by (adjective) (noun) before they have a chance to (verb) the (adjective) girl. There’s no cohesive flow of ideas, and what does get executed is nothing audiences haven’t seen before in cheap horror cash grabs. Cliche runs rampant in this film, to the point where you wonder what the purpose of reimagining a Coppola classic was in the first place.
The most terrifying aspect of Dementia 13 is its complete lack of originality.