13 Ghosts

"OK"

13 Ghosts Review


I swear Joel Silver and the boys at Dark Castle just keep making the same damn film in a nicer looking house. I can picture the gray-bearded man right now, sitting behind a desk in a plush leather chair, tapping his fingers together, trying to decide at which overtly posh location he shall strike next. The House on Notting Hill is surely on the way next.

Once again deciding to rely entirely on creepy art direction, set design, and half-assed CGI, Silver is back again at the whole "haunted house" game. Last time he handed up a haunted insane asylum (House on Haunted Hill) and a group of under- or overrated actors and said "boo." This time he hands us Shannon Elizabeth, Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, F. Murray Abraham, all sequestered in a glass house with Latin written across its walls -- oh yeah, and let's not forget the comic relief nanny (Rah Digga).

Abraham plays Cyrus, eccentric millionaire obsessed with trapping spirits and bending them to his own purpose (in this case, predicting the future). Cyrus is using Lillard, as a pill-popping psychic, to locate his ghosts and trap them in cubes. Sadly for Cyrus, ghost #12 doesn't take to nicely to this and decides to short-circuit Cyrus' life.

Cut to Arthur (Shaloub), widower (watched his wife burn in a house fire), single parent, and Cyrus's long-lost nephew. When a creepy lawyer shows up at Arthur's door with an even creepier laptop and a yet even creepier message from old Uncle Cyrus telling him that he's the new owner of a really creepy-looking house, well, then you know something ain't gonna go right in all of this. But hey... despite the double indemnity Arthur would surely have gotten from the fire and life insurance, he decides, what the hey, and off they go to the house that Cyrus built.

The rest of the movie is as by-the-numbers as my little synopsis. All told, 13 Ghosts has more cheap thrills than a Giant Eagle-turned-Haunted House for Halloween. The only thing it's missing is an ominous narrator (they're saving that for the sequel). Ghosts' ghosts are vastly unoriginal (suicidal girl taken straight out of The Shining, insane asylum victims, kid with arrow through forehead, etc., etc.), but it does win points for the effectiveness with which the ghosts come into play. The majority of the audience, for better or worse, was screaming, shaking, yelping, booing, hissing, and yelling throughout the movie, and with an atmosphere like that 13 Ghosts becomes something you can endure -- which is not to say that the film is going to end up on anyone's top ten list.

Ultimately, 13 Ghosts is a one-trick pony that plays all of the cards in its hand and leaves with that contrived "family closure" ending, leaving us to remember only a pile of cheap scare gags, bad acting, and useless one-liners. But it is Halloween, I guess, and nobody said this was Einstein's favorite holiday.

On DVD you'll find plenty of extras, including a commentary track and a featurette spotlighting the film's impressive set design and makeup effects, but alas nowhere is there the key to making the film make sense.

Aka Thirteen Ghosts and Thir13en Ghosts.

The writing's on the wall...



13 Ghosts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st July 1960

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: William Castle Productions, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Steve Beck

Starring: Charles Herbert as Buck Zorba, Jo Morrow as Medea Zorba, as Ben Rush, as Hilda Zorba, as Elaine Zacharides, Donald Woods as Cyrus Zorba, John van Dreelen as Van Allen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.