New Horror Releases: Investigation 13 (2019) - Reviewed

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Four guys and a girl get permission from their university to investigate – wait for it – an old abandoned asylum to prove that ghosts exist!

Off the bat, Investigation 13 is not for the more intelligent or discerning viewer in search of horror or the more existential answers that the human psyche might hold, let alone anyone who has ever picked up a physics book. The burning questions that compel this crew of adolescents towards what they deem a potential breakthrough could be answered by the most logical 6 year old. But hey, this is for entertainment purposes, so let’s play nice.

Investigation 13 intends to introduce us to the legend of the Mole Man, a violent psychotic patient who was confined at Black Grove Psychiatric Asylum and is said to live in the walls. The students’ aim is to present their petition, as well as proof of the paranormal, to the school board in order to launch an accredited parapsychology course.

Directed by Krisstian de Lara, Investigation 13 attempts originality with the splicing of various mediums, but it simply makes the film look clumsy and aimless. Incorporating the use of unnecessary comic book segments to explain backstories does not fit in with the general feel of the found footage segments of the crew’s experience and gives you the idea that the director used too many elements for no reason, a rookie move.

The film doesn’t even bother with character introductions at all. This alienates the audience from the characters, who are just pawns with names we don’t give a damn about. In fact, during the crew’s interview with the building’s owner, played by the inimitable Meg Foster, they don’t even bother to introduce themselves to her (and the audience). Leaving out invaluable elements of a story, especially if you want to scare your audience, is just evidence of sloppy writing and sloppy direction.

If the dull plot doesn’t make you chew at your pulses for a blessed release, the acting is dismal and boring and makes you hearken to the days of overacting in '80s horror films (Evil Ed from Fright Night and most of the cast of Night of the Demons, for instance). It is clear that most of the new wave of horror indies are more concerned with how good looking the actors think they are and how cool they are for the over-the-top use of the good old F-bomb for lack of a good script. There is no depth to the writing in Investigation 13, even after two re-writes. 

The only frightening aspect of this film is that the producers intend to make two more spin-offs about the Mole Man. Perhaps they should use the funding to invest in professional writers to make sure their next venture is not as forgettable and painful as this garbage. I tried to be constructive here, but these done-to-death and pallid wastes of film should not be tolerated anymore. There are films out there with terrible production quality that far exceeds Investigation 13 in originality, interesting characters and rather apprehensive build-up scenes.
Not even casting horror icon Meg Foster could save Investigation 13.

Let’s be positive, though. The camera work is decent.

--Tasha Danzig