Rating:

Be Scared. Be Very Scared Of This Movie

Main Cast: Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, Matthew Lillard, F. Murray Abraham

Director: Steve Beck

Wow, this is a loud movie! Can’t say much for everything else, but loudness and special effects it definitely has.

Image of Poster for Thirteen Ghosts

This poster is a lot scarier than this movie

Okay, here’s the plot: Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) recently lost his wife and is living in a small apartment with his son Bobby (Alec Roberts) and daughter Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth), along with a nanny named Maggie (Rah Digga). Money is tight, and the appearance of a lawyer is probably not a good sign. Or maybe it is… it appears that Arthur’s uncle, Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham), willed his house to his nephew. Too good to be true? Hollow laugh.

Okay, jump back to the beginning of the movie, where the uncle and some armed men break into a junkyard. Said uncle is accompanied by Rafkin (Matthew Lillard), a twitching psychic who can see ghosts. The uncle sets up some sort of chamber and lures the ghost out, with the “red shirts” (the armed men) dying in various gruesome ways before the ghost is finally captured in the chamber. The uncle blathers on about “13 Ghosts” and we know he is ruthless and probably more than a little touched in the head.

Jump back to Arthur and the family. They follow the lawyer up into the hills to the uncle’s house, and what a weird place it is: all glass, with weird symbols traced upon the walls and doors. In any case, Arthur soon learns about the house and the secrets, from the psychic who snuck in for reasons of his own. After that, Bobby disappears and we descend into the standard “chase-get-away-from-slasher” flick (in this case, 12 ghosts instead of one insane monster).

Sadly, other than the excellent sets, special effects, and ghost makeup, nothing about this film is good. Shalhoub does what he can with the role and is at least watchable, as is Elizabeth as the teen daughter. The rest of the cast are either just bad or wildly overact. Loud noises, races through the glass house with ghosts flying behind, deaths and blood… all standard stuff for the genre. But with a hopeless plot and cardboard characters, not worth bothering about.