13 Angry Men

I can't get enough of crime dramas, especially when there's a killer involved. So a few weeks ago, I sat down to watch the 1957 film 12 Angry Men for the first time. It was pretty good, but as a whodunit, it just wasn't satisfying. I mean, the film ends after Juror #8 convinces the jury to find the accused 18-year-old boy not guilty of murdering his own father. The boy walks away scot-free. And we never find out who did the murder.

It's like they forgot to include the ending.

So I was pleased to learn about the obscure direct-to-video sequel 13 Angry Men, released in 1993. One review I read said it was like Silence of the Lambs meets Psycho, and another review said it was "psychologically taut."

I bought a VHS copy on eBay for $3.24, hooked up the old VCR, and waited for the tape to arrive in the mail. When it finally did, the box was all in Russian. I was worried the film would be dubbed, but I popped in the tape, and thank my lucky stars - the dialogue was in English.

Now this was more like it. Watching the original, I had waited on the edge of my seat to find out who the murderer was. Now I would finally have the answers to all my questions. Who killed the father? Was it one of the jury members? Which jury member?

The accused boy in the original 1957 film

13 Angry Men sees a mysterious man picking off the jurors one by one in different ways. When you watch the movie, you will say: who knew there were so many ways people could get murdered? Juror #8 (originally played by Henry Fonda) joins a team of FBI profilers tracking the serial killer, who hides his face under a sinister Mexican luchador mask.

None of the original actors return, but this is a minor complaint given the richness of the story. And unlike the boring black-and-white original, 13 Angry Men is in colour.

Now this is where it gets good. Warning: massive spoilers ahead.

The masked serial killer taunts Juror #8 by saving him for last, then corners and tortures him. Guess what we find out? Juror #8 was the one who murdered the 18-year-old boy's father in 1957! It's so crazy. I love psychology, and the twist makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it.

Then the masked killer finally reveals himself. It is the accused 18-year-old boy all grown up. Let's just say he's a very angry man.

And he wants revenge.

This is the rare sequel that gives you that little extra to chew on. The film really lets you inside Juror #8's mind and makes you question the nature of right and wrong. 13 Angry Men is definitely worth checking out if you can find a copy.

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