… more absurd than scary. …USA Today says:
… In reality, even new ideas end up feeling old. The genre has become so ritualized and formalized that a sense of rot has set in. That sense does in 13: Fear Is Real …The New York Times says:
… a fizzled effort at scaremongering, reveals just how badly reality television can go astray when the casting fails to be creative. … Nothing believably harrowing actually happens during the first episode — middle managers reviewing expense reports have been more easily horrified — but everyone is called upon to wear a look of terror, even if the collective acting skills hardly seem up to the exercise. …The Chicago Tribune says:
… though it must have been scary to go through—it's no picnic being buried alive, I would guess—it is not particularly scary to watch. The structure of the thing keeps reminding you that it's a show, and the players—some of them, anyway—are too mindful of their place in the fiction. …The Washington Post says:
… strictly for people who think "The Blair Witch Project" is the scariest movie ever made -- in other words, people who never saw "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Night of the Living Dead," "Psycho," "The Birds," "The Exorcist," "Rosemary's Baby," "Frankenstein," "Bride of Frankenstein," "House of Frankenstein," "House of Wax," "Hostel," "Alien" or "Bloodsucking Babes From Burbank." Or any other genuinely scary movie, for that matter. … No one risks being scared to death, but being bored to death seems a credible threat.The Boston Globe says:
At one point in the CW's "13 - Fear Is Real," a bubbly contestant named Laura exclaims, "I'm so scared, I'm, like, shaking." Watching "13 - Fear Is Real," I was, like, shaking, too, from giggling at the awesome flimsiness of this new horror reality show - when I wasn't bored out of my skull, that is. … as scary as, like, a mall Halloween display.Variety says:
… it's hard to escape the pervasive sense that this is just a grown-up camping trip with handheld cameras and a $66,666 prize. "Fear is real"? Puh-leeze. Hell, even the breasts aren't real. … Even nightvision lenses and up-the-nose video, however, can't create a real sense of jeopardy until the final challenge, when two finalists are "buried alive." At least that's semi-interesting, though until then "13" is pretty much a snooze -- more scatter-brained than scary. …The Hollywood Reporter says:
… a CW-staged reality show that scarcely could be more fake. … We're supposed to feel their fear when they're left dangling in the dark by themselves, save for the fact we know there is least one cameraman and a sound guy -- and certainly a producer and probably a craft-services caterer or two -- hanging nearby.8 p.m. Wednesday. The CW.