One Minute Review: Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Release Date
October 26, 2001
Director
Steve Beck
Screenplay
Neal Marshall Stevens
Richard D’Ovidio
Robb White (Story By)
Distributed By
Warner Bros. Pictures
Budget
$42 million
Horror
Rated R for horror violence/gore, nudity and some language
91 minutes

Thir13en Ghosts

Nursing production quality over substance or content, “Thirteen Ghosts” is still a hugely underrated horror film with a unique concept (based on a 1960s horror film) and enamoring set pieces. With an elaborate maze of a glass house standing as the centerpiece of the film, with its shifting walls and ghost laden basement, producer Terry Castle (with Robert Zemeckis) remakes her father’s 60s horror film in a way he could have never imagined. Still cheesy and often poorly acted, the one thing keeping “Thirteen Ghosts” from being a success is a complete lack of scares.

The ghosts are frightening and well-designed, the situations are eerie, yet there are no real spooks. Rather, the film follows a formulaic story arc with nothing to make it standout. Matthew Lillard is the shining star in an otherwise miscast endeavor. Tony Shaloub, Embeth Davidtz, and Shannon Elizabeth tend to phone in their performances while Lillard runs circles around them in one of his best showings ever. Had the film’s tone been as dark and frightening as the set and the ghosts, “Thirteen Ghosts” would still be talked about today. Instead, it remains a miniscule cult classic for those that care to keep track.

 

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