XII (2008)
By: Devon B. on April 15, 2013 | Comments
Icon | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 76 Minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
XII DVD Cover Art
Director: Michael Nickles
Starring: Mercedes McNab, Steven Brand, Nick Searcy
Screenplay: Michael Nickles
Country: USA
External Links
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I wasn't sure if this movie was XII, Twelve or 12 at first, but it is made clear within the film that it should be identified as XII, so it's not just some wanky thing that was used on the poster art. Also, it's a Xmas movie, so there's an implied "Days of Xmas" after the title for me.

XII (Days of Xmas) is not a complex film under even the most lenient guidelines. I was struggling to find a way to expand its plot to more than one sentence for this synopsis, but really it comes down to a single line: Guy who was convicted goes after the 12 jury members. The law are tracking a serial killer, which leads them to the small town of the trial, but it takes them awhile to work out what's going on. Slightly quicker with the "mystery" unravelling are two friends who served on the jury. The characters aren't particularly well developed in XII (Days of Xmas) so all I really know about our heroines is that they jog and are waitresses. Also, one's selfish and the other's not. Anyway, the question becomes whether they will fall prey to the killer like the other jurors before them, or whether they will survive and what will be left of them.

See, XII (Days of Xmas) borrows from a few movies like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Frighteners and Jeepers Creepers. XII (Days of Xmas) is absolutely a low-budget knock-off, but I found myself strangely unoffended by it. The movie fooled me early on, or at least what happened occurred different than how I was expecting, and when a movie like this does something that's even slightly different I start to take notice. What this scene did was cut down a lot of the filler I was expecting and just went right in to business, and the whole film benefits from this stripped down, straight to the point feel. It's not original, or scary, but I thought it was an okay cheapie horror.

Due to the lower budget the acting quality varies a bit, with some real stinkers making their way in front of the camera, but overall the film is much better than I anticipated. The writing was surprisingly competent even though the story was clichéd, and the film has quite a few touches of humour that are bizarrely not annoying. Normally when a movie of this calibre tries to be funny all it does is aggravate, but I even found myself chuckling at a few of the gags.

Those coming to the film for its R rating might be disappointed, though. I spent most of the movie wondering why it was R, but there's a bit in the climax that delves into the "torture porn" style of film that pushed this into the higher category.

XII (Days of Xmas) is too short to ever get boring, and I'm always game for quick paced horror, especially if the movie's set at Xmas. It's nothing new, but an okay amalgam of familiar elements to come up with a slightly different whole.
The Disc
The movie is clearly lower budget, but the transfer is pretty clean, clear and sharp. There's a little edge enhancement and the colours can be oversaturated, but otherwise this transfer's fine. The disc comes with a 5.1 or a DTS 5.1 audiomix. The movie isn't brimming with action that will blow apart the stereo, so both mixes are front heavy, but both tracks pick up when the shit hits the fan. The DTS track has more depth and is a bit louder, and it's naturally the clearer of the two. The killer's truck gave off some nice, deep rumbles, but even at its most active moments this isn't a jaw dropping audio experience.

The only extras are trailers on start up for Pandorum and Triangle.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
XII is not an original masterpiece, but it's a competent, low budget movie, and I gotta give cred for that. It was a surprise akin to Monster Man for me, where I expected fourth tier mediocrity and instead got something that was pleasantly not-awful. XII hasn't broken any new ground, but should be watched way ahead of a lot of the other direct to video horror that's out there.

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