Thir13en Ghosts (2001) ***
D: Steve Beck
C: Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, Embeth Davidtz, Adam Kaminski, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, F. Murray Abraham
P: A down on their luck family inherit a most unique mansion from their uncle, but it turns out the place is crawling with malevolent spirits.
REVIEW: OK! Let's get this out of the way, right here, right now. The story on which Thir13en Ghosts hangs it premise onto is as flimsy as it gets. However, this is one of those rare times where a film works, despite a fundamentally weak story. Thirteen Ghosts has some of the most impressive production design of any contemporary horror film. The sets, the set decoration, the costumes, the makeup, the visual effects- all of it is quite impressive. And the performances are pretty solid right down the line, especially Matthew Lillard doing his typically edgy thing and Rah Digga in a scene stealing performance.
Still, at the core of any serious horror film, it needs to be scary and that's where Thir13en Ghosts really shines. The ghosts are truly frightening looking, not to mention that they each have their own distinctive look. The labyrinth like setting helps to create a sense of confusion and frenzy. And from the beginning onward, there is this sense of tension and unease as the film's protagonist find themselves in dangerous situations completely oblivious to the fact that malevolent spirits roam around in the hallways sight unseen.
Weak story aside, Thir13en Ghosts delivers a truly scary horror film experience with some of the best production values of any horror film from the 2000 - 2009 era. [R] 91 mins.
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