Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This movie ‘2:13’ is an interesting entry into the serial killer thriller genre that features a solid cast and some unique premises but unfortunately it suffers from a fairly serious set of fatal flaws which involves me being a complete and total SPOILER for you so if you plan to watch this movie, please continue on to that porn site you were heading to anyway.

Actor Mark Thompson, who penned this little tale, is Detective Russell Spivey, a police profiler who has been on the shelf for about a year or so due to completely freaking out, their words – not mine, in the middle of tense case he was working on. I don’t know what that year off was supposed to do for Detective Spivey, considering he still drinks heavily, doesn’t sleep at all, experiences all kinds of nightmares and still freaks out on occasion but his one-year sabbatical is up and he’s back on the job.

One of the reasons he is back on the job is that the ‘Mask Killer’ has returned. A year ago a woman was accosted, tortured and presumably murdered even though they haven’t found her body, or at least ALL of her body. The clues of that case were a videotape that was left behind and an expertly crafted playhouse mask. Now gone and  he’s killed and tortured another woman, somehow managed to staple this woman to the ceiling and has left behind another expertly crafted mask. Weird. Heading this case is Spivey’s ex-lover Detective Amanda Richardson (Teri Polo), with the reasons this couple not doing that thing anymore having something to do with Detective Spivey freaking out a year ago. Despite their differences and Spivey’s laundry list of personal problems, he is still one hell of a profiler and he is needed on this job.

Another reason Spivey is so dead set on finding this lunatic is because of the misery that one John Tyler (Mark Pellegrino), the husband of the first woman, is suffering through, hoping against hope that his wife is still alive. Worst still is that this lunatic is communicating with Tyler, deepening his grief while using the poor man to drop cryptic clues for our detectives to decipher.

The truth of the matter is that this killer, one with a predilection for Shakespearean comedies, is just getting started with all of his sickness all circling back onto Detective Spivey. But Spivey is getting close. The problem is that this killer is getting close to getting what he wants as well. You might’ve noticed there’s a pretty woman in this movie that is romantically attached to our main character. If there such a thing as reincarnation please don’t let me come back as a pretty woman romantically attached to a main character in a serial killer movie, or a Black dude in a horror movie. Anything but that.

So we kind of liked ‘2:13’ a little bit, with the title representing the time on the clock that was very personal to our serial killer, even though I can’t rightfully remember why. Mark Thompson’s sardonic, off key performance of as Spivey was solid, the serial killer ‘hitch’ and the way it worked itself out as the story gradually revealed itself was better than expected, but while it was good that this film gave Teri Polo’s character a position of authority who carries a gun and talks tough, ultimately however as it played out she was still just a damsel in distress who required rescuing. Nonetheless Ms. Polo was fun to watch in motion in this movie.

So Director Charles Adelman created a nice atmosphere for this little serial killer thriller, the where and the how of our serial killer and his relationship to the main character was kind of clever, and the performances were solid including a few engaging cameos by the likes of Kevin Pollack, Dwight Yoakum and The White Shadow. That’s all good, but there are problems and this is where I start SPOILING stuff.

As it turns out or distraught husband is our serial killer. Quite honestly this is no surprise if for no other reason than the law of Economy of Characters. It was either him or the Jere Burns Cop character. Now it is no problem to make the killer a character we haven’t met yet. It worked in ‘Se7en’ so it can be done, but nonetheless they gave us this guy and we have no particular problem with that. The problem is the visual timeline. Our serial killer is upset at our detective because of something the detective, as a child, did to affront our serial killer who was an adult at the time. The thing is Mark Pellegrino appears to be a good fifteen years younger than Mark Thompson. On one hand you’re watching the movie and your thinking, ‘I think the husband’s the killer’. Then when the cards get laid out and you’re thinking ‘Oh, he can’t be the killer because he wouldn’t have even been born yet’ despite the fact they never gave us his age but it certainly doesn’t pass the eye test. Then when they show Pellegrino as the killer you can’t help but be a little confused. I know Mark Thompson wrote this, probably for himself, and he was good in it but it really would’ve helped matters if he and Pellegrino switched roles. Then it makes sense.

Another thing about the husband being the killer… If a wife is missing and her body parts start showing up in odd places, I’m thinking Mr. Husband, whoever this husband happens to be, is automatically suspect number one. Thus the slightest bit of police work should’ve told our cops this cat wasn’t who he said he was. Another thing, if the bad guy sticks your girl with a needle full of stuff, maybe we should get said girl to the hospital. Maybe find out what was in that needle full of stuff so girlfriend won’t drop dead twelve hours later. Girlfriend, for her part, should probably recall being stabbed with a needle right? Unless it was the nasty coffee that poisoned the girlfriend, which then forces us to ask how the distraught husband / killer who the entire police department knows, snuck into the station house undetected and poisoned somebody’s coffee. We’re not even going to ask how you poison somebody and have them expire many hours later at the exact time you want them to die. Even Vladimir Putin doesn’t know how to do that.

As you can see I had some with issues with ‘2:13’. It had some good things going for it and I do like me a serial killer movie but it sure does ask that you to buy into a lot of wacky improbabilities. This I had difficulty doing.

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