Investigation13 (2019) Movie Review


Investigation 13 is a 2019 American science-fiction horror feature film about a group of students that discover a terrifying secret in an abandoned asylum.

Directed by Krisstian de Lara (short: The Whisper) from a screenplay co-written with Clay Smith and Rolando Vinas, the Gorilla Studios Miami production stars Meg Foster, Robert Paget, Patrick Flanagan and William Alexander.

A group of college science students investigate the urban legend of The Mole Man, an ex-patient said to still be residing within the walls of the Black Grove Asylum and the cause of the disappearances of those who enter.


A group of science students has discovered how to scientifically explain the paranormal. The group’s goal is to present their findings to their school board and petition to launch the very first parapsychology credited course at their university.

Their thirteenth and final investigation lands them at Black Grove Psychiatric Asylum where they look into the urban legend of the so-called The Mole Man, an ex-patient who is thought to live within its walls.

My Personal Thoughts

I think Investigation 13 is a new-age fright-fest chronicling the tale of a group of college science students investigating the urban legend of The Mole Man, an ex-patient said to still be residing within the walls of the Black Grove Asylum. When members of the group start missing, they soon learn that this myth is more real than they thought, making this 13th investigation one they will come to regret.

How many times now have we seen a horror flick where a film crew investigate a haunting/urban legend at a closed/derelict asylum? It’s a scenario that has been done to death and more often than not, the results make for dull and dismal viewing. Director Krisstian de Lara’s Investigation 13 follows the same tired steps with little in the way of anything new added to the mix. Even a last minute plot twist fails to elicit any gasps, because like the rest of the movie, it’s all been done before.

I imagine that this is exactly why films like this get made, offering comfortable, formulaic ‘scares’ for those that simply want more of the same. I don’t, if you’re going to approach a plot arc that’s been done before then please do your utmost to give it a bit of a fresh spin, and aside from the occasional animated sequence, freshness is definitely not on the cards here.

The film alternates between black-and-white footage (the documentary team’s own recordings), and colour for the rest. I get that they had to do this to differentiate between the two, perhaps for the viewer’s benefit, but for this viewer it didn’t really make any sense at all, in fact it all seemed rather pointless.

I couldn’t help noticing that in one of the corridors of the abandoned asylum there’s a primary school kid’s ‘under-the-sea’ painting looming large on one of the walls – not the sort of thing one expects to see in an asylum, and elsewhere an office is showing no signs of dereliction, in fact it looks like it’s simply been borrowed to shoot a couple of scenes – details like these meant that I was unable to buy into the location onscreen being an abandoned asylum. Lack of budget I get, but not even trying to adapt the locations to suit the story is a bit lazy.

The acting is earnest if rather lacking in ability and the production’s evident lack of budget is compensated for by artwork/stills that fill in the back-story to the film’s central character Mole Man (who looks like a member of The Ramones). The animation proves jarring to begin with but ends up being Investigation 13’s saving grace as the live-action segments of Investigation 13 – Meg Foster withstanding – become an increasing chore to sit through.


First up in the plus column is the film’s usage of animated sequences to fill in the blanks in the narrative. I’m not sure if this was the plan from the beginning to save a dime, or the location wasn’t available as long as needed, but the decision to include these sequences was a stroke of genius. While the “haunted” asylum genre is well trod terror territory for sure, this aesthetic decision helps the feature stand (severed) head and shoulders above some of the creepy competition.

Another huge negative is the inclusion of genre legend Meg Foster (They Live, Masters of the Universe) in the cast; her performance adds an air of gravitas and solemn believability to the proceedings, while also anchoring the more unseasoned members of the cast.

Finally The Mole Man is a solid villain, and I could see potential to franchise his ass out quite effectively… which of course is always a boon to a fright flick, especially a slasher pic, who’s bread and butter has traditionally been icons that can return time and again to generate screams and profit$!

While not the most blazingly original asylum based fright flick out there, Investigation 13 is an horror biz… and with it’s strong villain, fun animation, and Fosters performance I can recommend slappin’ your eerie eyeballs upon it! but this movie filming is not good and even story line in this movie makes boring it wasted my time. I will never suggest any bad movies to audience to watch it. I will not recommend this movie and my rating for this movie is 4/10.

Directed by 

Krisstian de Lara

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)  

Clay Smith (original screenplay)
Clay Smith (writer)
Rolando Vinas (re-written by)
Krisstian de Lara (re-written by)

Jump to:

  • Release Dates (1)
  • Also Known As (AKA) (2)

Release Dates

USA 10 September 2019 (internet)

Also Known As (AKA)

(original title)Investigation 13
USAInvestigation 13

Production Companies

  • Gorilla Studios Miami


  • Uncork’d Entertainment (2019) (World-wide) (all media)

Other Companies

  • Entertainment Law Partners (Production Legal Services)
  • InkTip (screenplay facilitation)
  • International Screenwriters’ Association (screenplay facilitation)

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