At least not at first. Six forensic-science students are boated and then bussed into a body farm adjacent to the 13 Eerie Strait Penitentiary for a “Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team” exercise. It’s a field exam to test their wits and skills for FBI readiness, with corpses placed carefully around the island grounds.
The plan is for the students to determine how the cadavers became cadavers. The plan is not for them to be surprised by reanimated bodies. But isn’t college supposed to be about new experiences? In director Lowell Dean’s slick sicko film, that means things like getting a faceful of thorns.
And while we’re on the subject of thorns, an extended sequence in a cabin that pits Ginger Snaps’ ever-appealing Katharine Isabelle (where you been, girl?) against ungodly horrors also reminds one of Sam Raimi’s classic The Evil Dead.
But after that, the fun peters out; 13 Eerie becomes like every other zombie movie on the straight-to-video market today, except these undead guys hiss more. Its last third could have used more of its front-loaded touches of ingenuity; by the time we get the de rigueur shot of our heroes walking in slow-motion toward the camera as an explosion rips through the air behind him, Dean and company are clean out of ideas. That also explains the inconclusive, cheap-shot ending. —Rod Lott