Directed by William Stancik
Cult life and its followers often make for an intriguing topic. We find ourselves rooting for their escape and hoping they open their eyes in time. ‘13 knives’ by William Stancik discusses the aftermath of a cult that took it too far and ended up taking the lives of its members.
The story begins as two investigators meet with the child of a cult leader that committed suicide years ago, and convinced his followers to do the same. According to his son, the cult members believed the body was merely a vessel and wanted to live a higher life. They ended up slitting their own throats in order toshed their earthly bodies and have their spirits rise up and enter a spaceship. As the conversation progresses the investigators learn about the strange belief system that included aliens, dolphins and blowholes among other.
The cult leader’ son still resides in the same house and shows the investigators a knife one of the members used, claiming the police left it behind. We learn one cult member accidentally missed the suicide and came back to camp to find the others left without him. The man recounts the horrific days and confesses he is not sure he would have had the courage to go along with the plan.
As the son talks about his father, we see footage of the father and his partner as they explain their ways. Their beliefs are interwoven in their son’s story and we see how it affected the poor man’s childhood. As the questioning continues and the story unfolds, the conversation takes the three men to unexpected places and deals with themes that affect their own lives today.
The filmmakers responsible for this film, William Stancik, J. Gabriel Wagner and Joe Zumbahave an impressive background creating films together.It is very clear the trio enjoys exploring the bizarre and uncomfortable, and combine it with a touch of sci fi. Their characters are usually unconventional, rather eccentric, and face dangerous situations. Although they know danger is imminent they can’t help but stay and carry on with their search for answers. The puzzle is just too big to be left unsolved.
The dialogues could use more work, and the film could benefit from going deeper into the suicide mystery.The characters’ acting style is a bit too similar to one another, and repeats itself throughout the various films. I would love to see the filmmakers take a step forward in their next film and create a greater arc for their characters. Especially since they clearly possess the knowledge, tools and experience to do so.
All in all, ‘13 knives’ is an amusing comedy horror that’s fun to watch. It’ll entertain you, keep you smiling and definitely make you ask for more. There is no doubt that writer, director, producer,William Stancik, knows his craft.