May 6, 2003

I got tricked into watching it.

Okay, not tricked exactly. My husband waited until I wasn’t paying attention – peeling potatoes – and he changed the channel. By the time I noticed…it was too late, the movie had begun…then he admitted that he tricked me. He knew that I would have said no if he had asked me. Fucker.

Actually, it was much better than the crapfest that I had expected. It was still crap, but
interesting crap, encased in an intricate glass box covered with Latin script. Shannon Elizabeth notwithstanding, I got embroiled in the plot fairly quickly. The plot was standard fare – get the people into the haunted house as quickly as possible and let the bloodbath begin.

Let the spoilers begin, as I defend myself by saying that the lawyer’s death scene was the sole reason that I continued watching this film. Forget the brain-eating in Hannibal – the lawyer’s bisection is now the scene to beat in my own personal hall of fame. All the violence before and after that point was sorely disappointing.

The biggest point of trepidation in watching this film was the inclusion of The LillardTM. The LillardTM is not able to be anything else other than itself – no matter what the film. Googly-eyed, yelling freak that he is, he was less
annoying here than in any other film to date – except, of course, for Serial Mom.

More than anything else, this film is the gifted twin of the crappier The House on Haunted Hill. (Can you believe that tomas actually talked me into seeing that in the theater?) Both were remakes of old William Castle flicks and had the same writer. The plots were virtually identical – people trapped in an airtight house with a bunch of vengeful ghosts. Both sport Oscar winning actors as their leading bastards – Geoffrey Rush and F. Murray Abraham. They were even made by the same production company, which explains a similar look and feel to the production standards. Even though House had the better cast, Ghosts seemed a bit better for the B-ness of it’s actors. Although neither had the best of plots and each had it’s own obvious ‘deus ex machina,’ Thir13en Ghosts seemed to work a little better as mindless entertainment – it didn’t make you work quite as hard to suspend your disbelief.

Although the ‘black zodiac’ is a big load of crap, I was really impressed by the ghosts, especially the Angry Princess. I definitely need to figure out a way to dress up as the Angry Princess for Halloween this year. For some reason, Se7en’s victims came to mind with Kriticos’ captive ghosts. Maybe it was their own seeming implicitness in their own deaths? It was almost as if they all deserved it, even the little kid.

If my review makes you want to see Thir13een Ghosts, keep in mind that I have probably tricked you too. Turnabout is fair play!


Year – 2001
Rating – R
Runtime – 91 minutes
Genre – Horror Remake
Director(s) – Steve Beck
Writer(s) – Neal Marshall Stevens, Richard D'Ovidio
Actor(s) – Shannon Elizabeth, Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, Embeth Davidtz, F. Murray Abraham
BOB Rating – Two BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Did the lawyer split?" - Maggie (Rah Digga)