REVIEW SUMMARY: A family inherits a haunted house after the owner, their rich uncle, expires.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Soon after visiting a house left them by their rich uncle, a family finds that they’re not the only ones unhappy about the high property taxes.
PROS: Tony Shalhoub was fun to watch in a non-Monk role
CONS: Really poor special effects; rather thin plot; overall poor acting talent; annoying title
BOTTOM LINE: This movie was a cross between They Live (and the acting was not much better than Rowdy Roddy Piper did in that movie), and The Haunting (though that was an overall better movie.)
Thir13een Ghosts is a remake of a 1960 Castle film 13 Ghosts, and while I never saw the original, I can tell you that it was at least more clearly titled.
In Thir13een Ghosts a rich uncle passes on and leaves a rather odd mansion to his nephew. Upon their first vist, the nephew Arthur (Shalhoub), his children and a caretaker find that the house is already occupied by twelve ghosts, all unhappy about having their spirits raised and trapped in the house.
The walls of the house are all glass, and contain sigils that prevent the ghosts from passing. Unfortunately a clockwork engine in the middle of the house keeps the walls constantly shifting, so while the family is safe one minute, they may be getting chased down the hall by ghosts the next.
The family soon gets separated, and the better part of the movie is spent trying to get back together while fighting against the late uncle Cyrus’ sinister schemes.
I eschewed the movie when I first saw the previews, as it look pretty silly. However, it was recently recommended by a friend so I gave it a whirl. My initial impression was right – it was pretty silly. For one, the ghosts were far from scary, and their make-up was done worse than the neighbor kids do on Halloween. Also, in order to see the ghosts you need to have special glasses. This immediately reminded me of They Live, but looking on IMDB, I see that the original 13 Ghosts also had the glasses (so I guess They Live copied the silly idea from the original 13 Ghosts!
The plot was pretty thin (family separated – try to get back together and get out of the house), though there were a couple surprises throughout.
If you like ghosts stories, you can do better, but if there’s nothing else on TV and you happen to see Sci-Fi channel is running the movie, then give it a shot!