THIR13EN GHOSTS

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 20, 2013

Nursing production quality over substance or content, “Thirteen Ghosts” is still a hugely underrated horror film with a unique concept (based on a 1960s horror film) and enamoring set pieces. With an elaborate maze of a glass house standing as the centerpiece of the film, with its shifting walls and ghost laden basement, producer Terry Castle (with Robert Zemeckis) remakes her father’s 60s horror film in a way he could have never imagined. Still cheesy and often poorly acted, the one thing keeping “Thirteen Ghosts” from being a success is a complete lack of scares.

The ghosts are frightening and well-designed, the situations are eerie, yet there are no real spooks. Instead, the film follows a formulaic story arc with nothing to make it stand out. Matthew Lillard is the shining star in an otherwise miscast endeavor. Tony Shaloub, Embeth Davidtz, and Shannon Elizabeth tend to phone in their performances while Lillard runs circles around them in one of his best showings ever. Had the film’s tone been as dark and frightening as the set and the ghosts, we would still be discussing “Thirteen Ghosts” today. Instead, it remains a little cult classic for those that care to keep track.

RELEASE DATE
October 26, 2001

DIRECTOR
Steve Beck

WRITTEN BY
Neal Marshall Stevens
Richard D’Ovidio
Robb White (story)

STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures

R
(for horror violence/gore, nudity and some language)

FANTASY
HORROR

91 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Gale Tattersall

COMPOSER
John Frizzell

EDITOR
Derek G. Brechin
Edward A. Warschilka

CAST
Tony Shalhoub
Embeth Davidtz
Matthew Lillard
Shannon Elizabeth
Rah Digga
F. Murray Abraham

PRODUCED BY
Robert Zemeckis
Joel Silver
Gilbert Adler

BUDGET
$42 million

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