Directed by Steve Beck, Thir13en Ghosts is a gruesome and ghoulish good time.
It kicks off with the spectacular capture of the juggernaut within his familiar junkyard setting. The black zodiacs twelfth ghost in the form of Horace “Breaker” Mahoney; a 7ft bullet ridden beast. Thir13en Ghosts gives us an array of bloody visuals as an opening, killing smart but psychotic ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) in the process.
Cyrus’s nephew, Arthur (Tony Shalhoub- Men in Black) lives with his two children Bobby (Alec Roberts) and Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth- American Pie), along with nanny Maggie (Rah Digga). Since the tragic death of his wife, Jean, Arthur has fell on hard times. On one usual hectic morning they are greeted by Uncle Cyrus’ attorney Benjamin Moss (JR Bourne- The Exorcism of Emily Rose). He has come to the Kriticos’ in hopes they will honor the Uncle’s last will and testament which has bestowed Arthur and his family full rights to a grand glass property out in the woods. Grateful for some greatly needed and seemingly good fortune, Arthur and the nanny up and off with the kids without a seconds thought.
On the midnight move with Moss in tow they bump into supposed cable-guy type Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard- Scooby-Doo), who unbeknownst to the Kriticos family is one of Uncle Cyrus’s ex-assistants who can “feel ghosts”. This modern maze mansion has floor-to-ceiling windows with Latin inscriptions that cage and house twelve vengeful spirits within the basement. A secret that Rafkin knows, and thanks to the nosey lawyer, has to divulge to the family sooner than he would like.
Battling a shape shifting house, vindictive spirits and the disappearance of his two children, Arthur has a ghostly battle on his hands. He is told the only way to stop the houses machine and save his kids is to sacrifice himself as a martyr to love, whereby he will become the final spirit; the thirteenth ghost. The ghosts themselves are portrayed with a realistic malevolence and yet, all are distinctly different. Unfortunately when you do get to see many of them, it’s usually in shots so maddeningly brief that you don’t get a good look at them all. (Though if you have this movie on DVD like me, check the extras for an interesting, in-depth character story on each ghost).
Though the acting isn’t the best and comes across too cheesy at times, Thir13en Ghosts is definitely worth a watch if ghosts are your thing. Even if just to see the brief glimpses you do get of the twelve ghouls. It’s a fun horror with some cool effects and some wicked characters of the dead.
WICKED RATING: 5/10 [usr 5]
Title: Thirteen Ghosts
Director(s): Steve Beck
Writer(s): Robb White, Benjamin Carr
Stars: Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, Embeth Davidtz
Studio/ Production Co: Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures Corporation, 13 Ghosts Productions
Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Mystery, Thriller