If you’re seeking a film that will leave you with the urge to take a shower afterwards, 13 Cameras is the perfect one for you.
This flick centers around young married couple Ryan and Claire who have just moved from New York to California to be closer to Ryan’s job. Claire is pregnant with their first child and is busy going to mommy potlucks and yoga. Their marriage isn’t going great but Ryan hopes a change of scenery and renting a new house will improve matters. The couple rents a house from an older, crooked-mouthed man named Gerald who lacks basic people skills. Claire is completely disgusted by Gerald’s manners and lack of hygiene. She eloquently describes him as smelling like “bad mayonnaise”.
Gerald’s hygiene is the least of Ryan and Claire worries, though. Gerald is a creeper who has hidden tiny surveillance cameras around the house to spy on the couple. He has cameras in the bathroom above the shower and even in the toilet. Yikes! As the audience we watch Gerald watching the couple and even witness the couple’s marital problems breaking through their fake smiles. As the couple’s relationship deteriorates as a result of Ryan’s infidelity, Gerald becomes obsessed with Claire. He then adds even more cameras in the house. With Gerald wanting more he eventually becomes more daring in his actions toward Ryan and Claire.
13 Cameras uses a blend of traditional and found footage. The cinematographer Jess Dunlap did an amazing job capturing the traditional footage which is complimented by found footage style shots throughout the film. The found footage shows thirteen different views from thirteen different surveillance cameras that Gerald has hidden in the house. As the viewer, I felt uncomfortable, even dirty due to what I was seeing.
The acting is pretty solid. PJ McCabe and Brianne Moncrief who play Ryan and Claire come off believably. PJ McCabe did an amazing job as Ryan, he effectively came off as a douchebag of husband who’s completely selfish. Whereas Brianne Moncrief portrayed Claire as a homemaker/victim. I kind of felt like Claire as a character was lacking personality. She always seemed more focused on building a nursery than spending time with her husband. Perhaps Claire would have been more likable had she been more developed.
The real star of the film, though, is Neville Archambault as Gerald, the dirtiest landlord of all time! As the viewer you can practically smell the filth leaking off of Gerald. Watching him transition from ogler to more of a bold participant is definitely frightening but totally believable. Gerald is filthy and completely disturbing. He makes the film uncomfortable to watch and enticing, at the same time.
13 Cameras a.k.a. Slumlord is not a perfect film, but it’s amusing and unsettling, what else could you ask for? This film thoroughly accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to scare and simultaneously disgust.