A down-on-his-luck salesman has lost his job, his car and his girlfriend. When a mysterious cell phone caller offers him $100 million to play a “game show” featuring 13 secret challenges, he is in. The catch? The test grows increasingly intense and morally questionable, but if he quits he loses everything. Loaded with diabolical twists that lead to a shocking ending.
13 game sayawng 6.5
eyelights: its main conceit. its lead.
eyesores: its execution. its lack of ingenuity.
I like games. So do some of my friends. In fact, today being a special Friday the 13th, my friends and I are play-testing an interactive game that was especially designed for the occasion.
It’s called 13 Little Mallrats.
Set in a local mall, 12 Seekers will be deciphering clues that will lead them to Lucky Tickets that have been hidden in various nooks and crannies. These tickets correspond to prizes.
However, one player will be a Stalker and will try to eliminate them. No one will know who the Stalker in their midst will be, not even myself, as the roles will be assigned randomly.
The basic concept is essentially a combination of Treasure Hunt and Hide-and-Seek with a ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘And Then There Were None’ flavour. I’m very curious to see how it will unfold.
This leads me to ’13 game sayawng’ (or ’13: Game of Death’), a 2006 Thai thriller that follows Chit as he attempts to complete thirteen challenges in the hope of winning 100 million.
The premise is simple.
Chit is having a terrible time: he’s recently separated from his gf, he loses a contract to a rival, his car is repossessed, he’s fired, he’s deep in debt, and his mother needs a cash transfer.
Then he gets a phone call from a stranger who knows everything about him and is even monitoring his every move. This person offers him cash in exchange for participating in a game show.
At first incredulous, he begins to believe the caller when they can describe his current actions, set up a very simple task for him to complete, and immediately transfer the winnings to him.
Tempted due to his dire financial situation, he decides to continue with the challenges, not realizing that they will become more and more difficult, dangerous, criminal and even immoral.
Frankly, I was having fun with ’13 game sayawng’ at first. Though it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, a lot of the initial set-up was plausible and it made me curious to see what would come next.
But it became less and less credible as the authorities got involved and the challenges became more absurd. It was also poorly thought out, in that many of the so-called challenges were random.
1. Swat a pesky fly with a newspaper left for Chit = 10K
2. Eat the dead fly = 50K
3. Make any three children cry in a nearby park = 100K
4. Steal a jar of money from a beggar = ?
5. Eat a delicately-prepared plate of feces = 500K
6. Make contact with their assistant to swap his dying phone for another one = ?
7. Get a dead old man out of a well = 1.2 million
8. Knock out his ex’s boyfriend with a chair = ?
9. Find their assistant in a nearby hospital and avoid the police = 10 million
10. Help the assistant with whatever she wants = ?
11. Kill his interfering friend or kill her dog as a warning = 40 million
12. Kill and gut a cow to retrieve a key = 50 million
13. Unlock Room 13 and kill his abusive father = 100 million
There are a few rules:
A. He must complete each task to reveal (and move to) the next one.
B. He can stop anytime.
C. He can’t tell anyone or he will forfeit.
D. He can’t try to find out more about the caller/the game or he will forfeit.
E. If he doesn’t complete all thirteen tasks, he loses everything.
A lot of these tasks aren’t especially challenging and only are out of sheer contrivance – such as swapping phones, which shouldn’t have even been anything but a blip on the radar, really.
But it became a huge mess. For nothing.
And some of the ghastly business didn’t even require his willing participation, like when he helped the old woman put up a metal wire across a road – he thought he putting up a clothes line.
Meanwhile, involving his friend Tong was a bit ridiculous: why would they let her in on their secret if they didn’t want anyone to know? And how could they be sure that she’d play along?
Really, the whole thing’s just a wild goose chase with little rhyme or reason. So, as the movie wore on, my interest waned; I would have preferred a series of actual tasks of increasing difficulty.
Well, my game will be better.
At least it didn’t take itself too seriously, or else it wouldn’t have held up. This also permitted some of the cartoony “performances”, which were mostly from the supporting cast, to pass.
Thankfully, the picture is anchored by a strong performance by Krissada Sukosol Clapp as Chit; he made it very watchable. Plus Chit wasn’t an action hero or a model; he was just some guy.
But it’s not enough to recommend ’13 game sayawng’. Though it’s worth watching all the way to the end for its unlikely but fun twist, it just isn’t clever enough to fulfill its promise.
Or satisfy its audience’s expectations.
Post scriptum: ’13 game sayawng’ drew enough attention to get an American remake in the form of ’13 Sins’. Could they possibly get this crazy gimmick right? Hmmm…
Date of viewing: January 8, 2017