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The horror film '13 Cameras' should spy on a more interesting couple

The horror film '13 Cameras' should spy on a more interesting couple
Brianne Moncrief stars as Claire, who along with her husband is spied on by her creepy landlord. (79th & Broadway Releasing)

The title objects in Victor Zarcoff's "13 Cameras" fill an otherwise pleasant suburban home, monitored by a sweaty, pervy landlord. When young parents-to-be Ryan (P.J. McCabe) and Claire (Brianne Moncrief) rent the place, they don't know they're being watched by Gerald (Neville Archambault), a man who subtly manipulates their lives.

Zarcoff brings a few good ideas to what's otherwise a fairly plain home-invasion/stalker thriller. The voyeurism angle works especially well when Gerald discovers Ryan's affair with a colleague who visits the house whenever the sweet-natured Claire is away. We watch a marriage collapse on video, just as Gerald does.

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It's refreshing too that Zarcoff resists the temptation to make "13 Cameras" a found-footage film. He does takes advantage of the inherent creepiness of surveillance cameras' remote, static angles, but only occasionally. Most of the movie is written, staged and played as a straight horror picture.

The problem with "13 Cameras" is that it's a little too straight, to the point of being clichéd. Gerald's a generic lumpen villain: slack-jawed and grunting, with no real personality. And the victims' relationship woes are underbaked, amounting mainly to Ryan feeling sexually underserved by his tired, pregnant wife.

Though the movie's consistently watchable, it's rarely grabby, aside from a few strong jump-scares. After a while, the audience may root for Gerald to do away with his tenants so he can rent the property to someone more interesting.

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'13 Cameras'

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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