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  • Rev Horror

Dark Zone Thirteen Part 2

Dir. John Bowker, Joe Sherlock, & Joseph Voegele (2021)

A second collection of shorts from the missing thirteenth issue of Dark Zone Magazine.

It's exceedingly rare that a group of filmmakers can get two anthology films off of one concept, and the idea that there is this mysterious magazine with a missing final issue from which to glean stories is a great one to do it with. How long is this magazine? How many stories are purportedly found in its pages? Will there be enough for a Dark Zone Thirteen Part 3? Were there even enough good ones for a Part 2? The answers will (maybe) be found within this followup to the original film, featuring time-traveling assassins, OnlyFans-style photoshoots, and lots and lots of cheap special effects.

The first short, Something Wicked is a tropey and legitimately scary short that is just a straightforward, simple ghost story with a decent actress (Melissa R. Bacelar) at the center. It's a tiny short, running a little less than ten minutes, but it's effective and a great start to the film. 47 To Go, starring director Joe Sherlock's son Connor, is a time-traveling tale that features a man going back in time, into another timeline, to prevent an accident that will befall himself in his universe. This one is also super short, barely half the length of the first short, but it's effective in the time that it has (no pun intended).

Next up is Crimson Eye of the Nameless, a disorienting cosmic horror starring two Skullface Astronaut mainstays (Dale Wilson and ). It's a weird, disconcerting short that will make its audience uneasy with its perplexing plot and its low-budget Lovecraftian aura. Suburban Satanic is about a group of middle-aged friends who perform a seance, one of whom ends up possessed. She also spends a considerable amount of time in the shower, which at this point you kinda have to expect from a film made by Skullface Astronaut. It's a decent short with a fairly unsurprising twist, and it's a creepy scenario anyway. The Delivery Driver (Part One) is a lighthearted short about a couple who hates each other, but there's someone else who hates them a little more. It's a humorous short, but it's also kinda scary in its concept: if this was something that happened, like, at all, Instacart stock would be even lower than it already is.

Peaches and Herb features site-favorite Tonjia Atomic as "The Mysterious Woman," and of course she's charming as always. Jewel Siren delivers an outstanding performance, one of the best out of all the Sherlock films I've seen thus far, as a possessed woman. The Delivery Driver (Part Two) is largely an aside, with director Joseph Voegele reprising his role as the driver, along with his new captive. An even twistier twist arises in this one, and it actually surprised the hell out of me. It's well done for such a short tale. Cool Air stars Bryn Kristi as a woman named Charli Carter who is looking for a new place and settles on a "charming" (read: rundown) new apartment. Unfortunately, she settles downstairs from Dr. Munoz (Jackey Neyman Jones), who is doing a series of weird experiments in her room that drip down into Bryn's room. Jones is Skullface Astronaut's resident Lovecraft actress, and she serves in a pseudo Herbert West role here.

There's a lot to love in Dark Zone Thirteen Part 2, and it's an super fun indie anthology that hits a ton of different genres. It's more lighthearted than the previous installment, and it takes its stories a lot less seriously. The one downside is that almost none of the stories are resolved. I want to know more about the delivery driver, why he does what he does, and why he bites it at the end as part of the time-traveling clone story. Hopefully Dark Zone Thirteen Part 3 will finish it all off, because I'm definitely intrigued by what we saw in the first two.

Who this movie is for: Horror anthology nerds, Indie no budget horror fans, Incompletionists

Bottom line: Dark Zone Thirteen Part 3 contains a lot more of the Skullface Astronaut style than its predecessor, but it also feels incomplete. Most of the stories just end rather than actually finding themselves resolved, and this missing resolution makes it a little bit harder to appreciate than the one before it. It's definitely interesting and well done, especially for no budget horror, and it's also pretty funny throughout. There's not a whole lot more that you can ask from a film like this, and if you're a fan of SA and what they do, you're gonna like this one as well. You can get your copy at their website, and you can find it streaming there as well.

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