From the opening you could easily mistake John Langridge’s 13 Graves for an East End gangster movie. Four people pile out of a vintage Jaguar S type in a forest. Maddy (Terri Dwyer) the gang’s matriarch orders Terry (Morgan James) and Frank (Kevin Leslie) to take Billy (Jacob Anderton), her own son, out into the woods and kill and bury him at the mob mass grave yard, for trying to double cross the gang.
Out in the woods Terry and Frank hand Billy a shovel and tell him to dig, Billy tries to talk them out of killing him, but they are having nothing of it and then the black clad Woodsman turns up. He offer Terry and frank the opportunity to turn towards the light and let Billy go so Terry shoots him. Billy uses the confusion to escape and is chased to an abandoned house full of pagan magical parafanalia, dried herbs and bones, where Terry shoots him dead.
Job done they set off back to the car, only to discover that the graves of previous hits have been exhumed and lined with rosemary and salt. Becoming disorientated they find that they keep coming back to the witchy house, then when darkness begins to fall Frank falls and twists his ankle. Terry leaves him alone at the house and goes off to try and find the car, but the hitmen are far from alone.
13 Graves is a nicely paced bit of British folk horror with an extra smart smart payoff in its tail. James and Leslie have a very good chemistry as the gangland hitmen and lets face it a pair of heavily armed and ruthless gangsters make an interesting change from the usual ‘them there town folk’ who come into the sacred woodlands to abuse the traditions of the locals and their land, offering up a different set of practical resources in their fight for survival. Highly atmospheric, the cinematography of the woodlands inevitably lends a sense of claustrophobia to Terry and Frank’s predicament as the darkness closes in around them and the land unleashes their own particular set of demons to haunt them.
Tense, spooky and highly atmospheric we give 13 Graves a 666/666
13 Graves, was released in the UK and the US in July, across digital platforms including: Amazon, Sky, Virgin, iTunes, GooglePlay and Microsoft Films