13 Ghosts
Boo! Lillard and Shalhoub get ready to be scared (nearly) to death.
aka: Thir13en Ghosts
dir Steve Beck
scr Neal Marshall Stevens, Richard D'Ovidio
with Tony Shalhoub, F Murray Abraham, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga, Alec Roberts, Matthew Harrison, JR Bourne, Kathryn Anderson, Shayne Wyler, Herbert Duncanson
release US 26.Oct.01; UK 8.Mar.02
Columbia
01/US 1h31

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
thir13en ghosts This remake of the cheesy 1960 B-movie is exactly what you want from a haunted house flick: violent, nonsensical rubbish! It's inventive visually, very gruesome and frequently quite scary too. After his wife dies in a house fire, Arthur (Shalhoub) and his kids (Elizabeth and Roberts) are left stunned by grief. Then Arthur's crazy uncle (Abraham) dies and leaves them a massive house and a personal fortune. But it's way out in the woods and made of glass! Soon after entering, they run into the uncle's wacky assistant (Lillard) and bitter nemesis (Davidtz), who explain that they're all actually trapped inside a giant evil machine that's using the energy of 12 ghosts to open a portal in time (or something like that). And one of them will have to become the 13th ghost to make it work.

The look of the film is so intriguing that you can't take your eyes off the screen--transparent walls panels etched with Latin phrases sliding around like a malevolent glass maze. Sure, the ghosts look like reject characters from the Evil Dead, and when push comes to shove, the filmmakers have few new ideas up their sleeves besides sudden death, children in peril, and grisly looking things going "boo!" when you least expect it. The decent cast are good at drawing us in, making us more than a little nervous about the nightmare they're trapped in, and keeping our brains happily spinning with intrigue and suspense. Delightfully stupid plot twists abound as well. But besides a bit of comic relief (in the form of Digga's screaming nanny), there's refreshingly little postmodern self-awareness. It's one of those scary movies that's great fun to watch, precisely because it never aspires to anything beyond its B-movie origins.
themes, violence, gore, language cert 15 17.Jan.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... "Oh my God, you have no idea! I love this movie soooo much! It was the best movie I've ever seen and I am completely obsessed! I know the whole script by heart and Ii even sat through the mostly boring commentry (I have the DVD). I LOVE THIS MOVIE!" --Maslin Greene, net 23.Jun.02 thir13en ghosts

"Totally the coolest movie ever. So scary but so cool, great special effects and Matthew Lillard is so cool." --Jay A.C.A., Ramsgate 10.Mar.03

"If this isn't one of the best movies ever made then I'm the pope!" --Leanne, England 4.Apr.03

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

HOME | AWARDS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK