From Serial to Making a Murderer, true crime has recently become a strange phenomenon, discussed and theorised in the same way as any number of prestige dramas, using expert and genre-bending production to present real life mysteries as more compelling narratives than anything that could be imagined. The Fear of 13 makes the audience sit uncomfortably, narrated by Nick Yarris, a man who spent 21 years sitting on death row. Yarris is a remarkably charismatic figure with a dark past, telling his story with the most incredible and captivating cadence. The film could be remixed and turned into a piece of spoken word music and it would be amazing. He has such a unique presence that even if he didn’t have such an awful past, you’d still want to hear this voice telling stories, although there’s a sense that the two can only go hand in hand. David Sington shoots the film with great artistry, relying on images and sound rather than tired reenactments to tell the story. The complexity of Yarris and his life story cause ambiguity and self-doubt. Inevitably you question the reliability of this remarkable narrator, which only makes things more interesting and eerie.
Review by David Rank
The Fear of 13 is out on 25/01/15 in the UK. Rating 15 (UK). Running time 96 mins.