Movie: “13 Cameras” tries to get under your skin by getting inside your house

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Look at that face. Kind of Toby Jones meets Aldo Ray on Cellblock 9, right?

That’s character actor Neville Archambault. And if I tell you he plays the pervert/lead in a movie about a creep who installs hidden cameras all over his rental properties to Peeping Tom his renters, you’re beating me to the punchline.

“No shock there.”

You know this guy keeps duct tape in his toolbox.

Archambault’s “on the nose” casting doesn’t help this blandly predictable thriller about what a peeper might see when he rents to a troubled young couple.

We meet “Gerald” as he’s sweating/breathing through his mouth at the security camera store. The smarmy, winking salesman doesn’t know it, but “Gerry” is about to become his best customer.

Because Gerald installs the cameras in his Southern Cal rental to spy on his renters, Ryan (PJ McCabe) and pregnant Claire (Brianne Moncrief). Claire is a worrywart over the baby, Ryan is getting frustrated.

And that’s where his nubile, blonde assistant (Sarah Baldwin) comes in. Ryan is fond of hooking up with Hannah while Claire is out of the house.

And for sweaty, bug-eyed Gerald, the camera in the bedroom and the one in the bottom of the pool won’t be enough. He keeps sneaking in, installing more gear, re-locking the basement door and bribing their dog with bacon cheeseburgers as he does.

Writer-director Victor Zarcoff manages the odd moment of suspense, and does us the favor of throwing a few curves in the very predictable path this genre piece is certain to take.

But “13 Cameras” plays as a tease, not sexual or graphically violent enough to count as exploitation, not suspenseful enough to get by. And with this plot, this “hidden camera” gimmick, without exploitation, it’s nothing.

Just a little on-the-nose casting, a wheezing, sweaty, limping bad guy who should never take his shirt off (dude’s stupidly cut) if he wants to maintain the illusion of the cliche he’s playing.

1half-star

MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, adult situations, profanity

Cast: Neville Archambault,Brianne Moncrief, PJ McCabe, Sarah Baldwin, Sean Carrigan
Credits: Written and directed by Victor Zarcoff. A Gravitas release.

Running time: 1:28

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