Tony Shalhoub in Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

House of the Rising Ghosts

When Arthur (Tony Shalhoub - Galaxy Quest) inherits his Uncle Cyrus's (F. Murray Abraham) estate, he along with his children Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth - American Pie 2) and Bobby (Alec Roberts), his lawyer and Bobby's nanny go to visit the estate which features an unusual glass house. But when they enter they find themselves trapped by their uncle's machine which has been designed by the devil to open the eye of Hell. With the help of Dennis (Matthew Lillard - She's All That) a ghost hunter and Kalina (Embeth Davidtz - The Hole) a ghost activist they must do what ever it takes to get out of the house alive.

When it comes to horror movies what is your reasoning for watching? Is it to be spooked or just be entertained by the look and the characters? If your reason is the first then I can only suggest you give "Thir13en Ghosts" a miss because this is one of those horror movies where the scares run low and the general entertainment is the focus. For me I prefer horror movies which scare me but am acceptable to those which just want to entertain but unfortunately the entertainment in "Thir13en Ghosts" ended coming up short.

Matthew Lillard in Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Part of the issue is that "Thir13en Ghosts" is all too familiar with a group of people stuck in a creepy house having to deal with evil. It is a set up which seems to have a new movie added to the list every year and when you have so many it needs to be something special to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately this just never does with nothing about it which stays with you when it is over.

That trouble comes from characters which we have no emotional connection with which means when they end up in danger in a ghost house we don't care what happens to them. It is a case that director Steve Beck has cast some likeable actors such as Tony Shalhoub and Shannon Elizabeth and relied on their likeability to try and keep us interested rather than the characters.

What this ends up meaning is that "Thir13en Ghosts" becomes one of those movies which is about the look rather than anything else with the frankly spectacular setting on the glass house with etchings on the windows and mechanical contraptions which open doors. It is why "Thir13en Ghosts" works purely on a visual level with plenty of attention when it comes to the design and special effects. Having said that some of the editing leaves a lot to be desired with that sense that time was running out when they were putting the final cut together.

What this all boils down to is that "Thir13en Ghosts" probably will entertain those looking for a good looking movie but will leave horror fans mostly unimpressed as it did me.