a critiQal film review Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Plot: An eccentric uncle leaves his nephew (Shalhoub) a spectacular old house. The nephew and his family soon find themselves trapped in their new home by strangely shifting walls. They come to realize that the house is a containment unit for 12 special ghosts. Joined by an associate of their uncle’s and by a ghost hunter who is determined to free the ghosts trapped within, the family struggles to escape the house, and it’s inhabitants...

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  • ...decent enough for a slasher flick.

Like a lot of movies these days, Thir13en Ghosts seems much better in the trailer. The movie tries too hard to scare you, and ends up going for the gross-out factor more often than not.

And, with recent movies like Resident Evil (2002) that are pushing the gore factor further, that ends up failing most of the time as well. I’m sorry, but any movie that features a naked woman as one of the ghosts is not aiming for a high level of class – more the level of a Friday the 13th (1980) movie.

Thir13en Ghosts was a little too predictable as well. I had pretty much guessed the major surprises long before they happened. While watching the movie, just guess at what’s going to happen, and more often than not, you’ll probably be right. That seems to be the way of most slasher flicks, though.

The special effects were good in Thir13en Ghosts, but nowadays, that’s to be expected. The glasses (which allow you to see ghosts) are a little far-fetched, but make for some decent special effect scenes. Now you see ‘em, now you don’t…The ghosts are decently spooky, and are very distinguishable from each other.

The characters of Thir13en Ghosts are believable, but you get the feeling that they are basically there just to provide warm bodies to frighten, since they are not developed very much.

Matthew Lillard (Scream (1996)) is good here, but Tony Shaloub should have stuck with the comedy or drama roles he usually plays (Who can forget him in Men in Black (1997)?) Shannon Elizabeth, of American Pie (1999) fame, is here just for eye candy which I, for one, won’t complain about!

Thir13en Ghosts is decent for a slasher flick. Not on the level with Scream (1996), but better than another recent haunted house slasher, House on Haunted Hill.

I’d say it’s an ok slasher flick, and worth the couple of bucks to rent it. But to buy? Only if it was on sale.

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