The film won several awards in Thailand and from film festivals. Remake rights for the film were purchased by The Weinstein Company.
A Boy Scout is standing at the crosswalk of a busy intersection in Bangkok and sees an elderly woman carrying some bags, struggling to make her way across the street. The woman drops some of her belongings, and as the seconds tick away before the lights will change, the boy runs out to assist the woman. In the confusion, he drops his mobile phone, and leaves it in the street while he helps the woman to safety. Just as the light changes and traffic starts to rush forward, the boy runs out to retrieve his phone, where he is hit by a bus and killed.
The scene then shifts to protagonist Phuchit Puengnathong (ภูชิต พึ่งนาทอง) (Krissada Sukosol Clapp), a struggling Yamaha Corporation salesman. He arrives at a potential client's school to find that a co-worker from his firm has already made the sale. His girlfriend, Maew, has recently dumped him to become a pop star. He lives alone in a small apartment. The next morning, he finds that his car has been repossessed. He arrives at work and is called into his boss's office, and is forced to resign due to his lack of sales.
He goes out to the stairwell to gather his thoughts and have a cigarette. He then discovers he has no more. He has a big stack of overdue bills from credit companies. However, his mobile phone is still working. His mother calls. She needs some money to pay for his younger brother's schooling. Puchit agrees to send her some money.
Angrily, he crumples his credit-card statements and bills and throws them to the floor. His phone rings again. The caller says Phuchit has a chance to win 10,000 baht. Phuchit is ready to hang up, thinking the call is cruel joke being played on him by his co-workers or friends. But then the caller tells Phuchit his full name, age, employment status and other details that makes Phuchit stay on the line. To win the 10,000 baht, all he has to do is swat a fly which is at that very moment buzzing around him and has been pestering him the whole time he's been sitting in the stairwell. The caller even says there is a rolled up newspaper nearby. Phutchit grabs the paper and swats the fly.
He immediately receives a message that 10,000 baht has been transferred to his bank account. His phone immediately rings again. The caller says Phuchit will win more money if he eats the dead fly. He goes back to his desk, holding the fly while debating whether to eat it. One of his co-workers, a friend, Tong (Achita Sikamana), comes to see him, just as he pops the fly into his mouth. She is stunned and is not sure what to say to him.
Phuchit receives another phone call. The caller explains that if he completes 11 more tasks, he will win 100 million baht. Needing the money, Phuchit reluctantly agrees to the play the game. The caller explains that if he quits the game or anyone discovers that he's playing the game, he'll forfeit all his winnings so far.
For the third stunt, he is told he must make some children cry. This act makes Phuchit recall his childhood, in which his father crushed his toys by stomping on them; Phuchit's father, a farang named John Adams (Philip Wilson), had married his Thai mother (Sukulya Kongkawong). Next, Phuchit must steal coins from a beggar.
For his fifth stunt, Phuchit is told to go to a fine Chinese restaurant. He is brought a covered plate that contains feces and he is told that he must eat it. This makes Phuchit recall when some bullies tried to make him eat dog feces when he was a child.
The stunts grow increasingly degrading, unlawful and deadly. His sixth is to fight with a gang of school-age thugs while riding a public bus in order to get another mobile phone. He must jump down a well and drag up the corpse of a dead man. He has to beat up his ex-girlfriend Maew's new boyfriend with a chair. Next, he must break an elderly woman (the same old woman from the first scene) out of a hospital. The game causes Phuchit to recall his childhood, when he was beaten by his cruel farang father, was taunted by bullies and other bad memories.
Meanwhile, Phuchit's friend Tong is concerned about the strange behavior she witnessed earlier in the office and later in the Chinese restaurant, and putting together clues overheard at the police station, she goes to her computer at work and gets on the internet. A computer expert, she manages to hack into a website for a game called 13. However, unbeknownst to her, she is being watched, and unwittingly, she is made part of the game.
A police detective, Surachai, also becomes involved, and comes close to catching Phuchit. However, Phuchit evades capture, and a higher-ranking police official orders Surachai to call off the pursuit.
Eventually, Tong's life is put at risk. She discovers the place where the game is being run from, and confronts the game's mastermind, a young boy named Kie, who tells Tong he is powerless to stop the game, saying he is "just a component" in the live, underground reality game involves players and viewers that perhaps number in the thousands.
Phuchit finds himself confronted by his father John Adams, who is strapped in a wheelchair, wearing a straitjacket and appears to be unconscious. To win the 100 million baht, Phuchit must stab Adams with a butcher knife. Phuchit is unable to do this; Adams stabs Phuchit to death, therefore winning his game. Tong screams at Kie, and Kie leaves as his minions hold her. Tong later wakes up on a bus bench and is found by Surachai.Krissada Sukosol Clapp as Phuchit Puengnathong (Chad in the English dub)
Nakarin Triemmerang as Phuchit, age 8
Chano Pemberger as Phuchit, age 11
Stuart Nombluez as Phuchit, age 14
Achita Sikamana as Tong
Sarunyoo Wongkrachang as Surachai (Tay's father in "12 begin" and police in 13 beloved)
Nattapong Arunnate as Mik
Namfon Pakdee as Maew (Mona in the English dub)
Piyapan Choopetch as Chalerm (Brian in the English dub)
Philip Wilson as Phuchit's father, John Adams
Sukulya Kongkawong as Phuchit's mother
Alexander Rendell as Tay (Main character in 12 begin)
Poon Tabthong as Old woman
Suthon Wechkama as Mad man
13 Beloved is adapted from the 13th Quiz Show episode in the My Mania graphic novel (or "pocket book" as it is called in Thailand) series by Eakasit Thairaat.
Director Matthew Chookiat Sakveerakul said the film is a reflection on what he views as materialism in Thai society.
"There are plenty of movies out there that are only for fun," Chukiat said in an interview. "I am more interested in political and social issues, so my movies address these and human issues as well. All in all, movies do address the state of being human, with themes such as love, and obsessions of one kind or another. But some just scratch the surface.
Thailand's prime minister at the time, Thaksin Shinawatra, is directly referenced in the film – his photo is on the newspaper that Phuchit uses to swat a fly.
The film covers one day but actually took about seven months to film.
The fifth stunt involved Phuchit eating a plate of feces, which in reality was a mix of durian, syrup and peanuts.
A short film prequel, 12 Begin, was made as part of the film's pre-release promotional campaign. It was shown in limited screenings at SF Cinema City theaters. A sequel called 14 Beyond released in Thailand 2009.
The film opened in wide release in Thai cinemas on October 5, 2006. It was also screened commercially in Japan and Singapore in June 2007. Its North American premiere was at the 2007 Fantasia Festival in Montreal. It also screened at the 2007 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, where it won the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation Asian Film Award. It also screened at the 2007 Bangkok International Film Festival in the non-competition "Thai Panorama" program. The film has been released on Region 3 DVD in Singapore, with English subtitles. It released theatrically in Hong Kong on January 24, 2008.
13 Beloved was number one in Thai cinemas on opening weekend, earning US$266,218 and edging out the previous week's number one film, Rob-B-Hood.
The film was hailed critically as well, with the Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee calling it a "smart, ambitious commercial film" with shortcomings that "are the results of risk-taking rather than of incompetence." Maggie Lee, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, called 13 Beloved "one of those accomplished suspense thrillers that mount the tension stage by stage without running out of steam at the end, it is also an unyieldingly cynical exploration of the human heart of darkness with an oedipal climax that makes it a field-day for Freudians."Thailand National Film Association AwardsBest Actor (Krissada Sukosol Clapp)
Special Image Creation (Best Visual Effect)
Golden Doll AwardsBest Cinematography
Bangkok Critics AssemblyBest Actor (Krissada Sukosol Clapp)
Starpics AwardsBest Actor (Krissada Sukosol Clapp)
2007 Fantasia Festival
Public Prize, Gold Fantasia, Best Asian
Brussels International Festival of Fantastic FilmGolden Raven Award
Remake rights for the film were purchased by The Weinstein Company. The remake was released in 2014 titled 13 Sins.