Written: October 27, 2001
Well with the film “Ghost” we had a lot of fun with just one ghost. If there are thirteen this time it should be 13-times the fun, right? Not exactly.
Father and widower, Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub of TV’s “Wings”) has two children, Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth of “American Pie”) and Bobby (Alec Roberts). It has been six months since the Kriticos have lost their mother. Arthur has been depressed and heart-broken causing his parental support and career to suffer.
Practically out of nowhere, Arthur inherits an original and captivating house from his mysterious Uncle Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham of “Amadeus”). Composed mainly of glass and steel, the house is an architectural marvel, filled with walls covered in “Latin” writing and filled with priceless antiques. As the Kriticos explore their new home, a strange secret dwells within the house’s walls and an obsessed man’s quest is about to materialize.
The two keys to the house’s secrets lie in the mind of a tortured psychic named Rafkin (Matthew Lillard of “Scream”) and a fortune hunter named Kalina (Embeth Davidtz of “Army of Darkness”). These two characters know a little about went on inside the mind of Cryus Kriticos.
The opening sequence for “Thirteen Ghosts” starts like a lot of other “creature” films as an unseen beast terrorizes some explorers.
Except these explorers come off as a cross between “Ghostbusters” and those government guys from “Predator 2”.
Actually a lot of the beginning reminded me of the “Predator” films especially the sequel.
I really liked the house in which the film is set. It’s like living inside a giant “wind-up watch” probably made by Swatch since its see-thru. The set design and craftsmanship of that house is unbelievable.
The “ghosts” themselves and parts of the plot reminded me a lot the “Hellraiser” films. Even the creatures themselves resemble some of those ghastly creatures from that series. They have one creature that is covered in nails that in theory reminded me of “Pinhead” himself.
The best scene of the film is when Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) finds her own bathroom and revels in its brilliance. As the director uses the camera to peer through the glasses (used to see these ghostly apparitions), we in fact see what the bathroom really looks like. I loved the camera work, suspense and clever way this scene was filmed.
Aside from the hi-lights mentioned above, “13 Ghosts” was probably one of the worst movies I have seen this year.
The way the film is laid out confuses the viewer for 80% of the film, as we never really get any key plot-points until we are “knee-deep” in blood. Matthew Lillard is really the only standout performance as all the others are very forgettable.
The worst part about the film is that about 56% of it has “epileptic” light flashes through it as we are supposed to flash between the “ghost” reality and our own. It was so hard to watch.
The film says that to achieve greatness one must be able to make sacrifices. Well, I am not sure what greatness is going to come from this film because I sacrificed a good 90 minutes of my life to see this film.
(1 out of 5)
So Says the Soothsayer.