A grieving family inherits a house that's actually a highly intricate
machine designed to trap the essence of ghosts and open a portal to hell.
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Directed by Steve Beck
Written by Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio
Starring Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, Embeth Davidtz,
Shannon Elizabeth, F. Murray Abraham, Rah Digga, Alec Roberts
Remake of 1960's 13 Ghosts
I had heard nothing but horrible things about this unnecessary remake for decades. I have not yet seen the 1960 original film, so I won't be including that in my judgment. However, the film I watched (despite the stupid as hell title) was far from a complete disaster. It's not that scary, the plot doesn't make a lot of sense, and the conflict is over way too quick. But you know what? I had fun. I'm a big fan of Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, Embeth Davidtz, and F. Murray Abraham. That certainly helped. Plus, there are some truly gnarly kills here that I feel have gotten overlooked.
Shortly after losing his wife in a fire, math teacher Arthur Kriticos (Shalhoub) learns that he has inherited a house from his estranged and eccentric uncle Cyrus (Abraham). When he and his family go to check it out, they learn the house is more of a giant prison for ghosts, sitting on a machine designed to open a portal to hell using ghost energy. Cyrus's partner Dennis (Lillard) has a change of heart and tries to help Arthur and his kids when they get trapped by the ghosts. Also, Cyrus isn't dead and planned the whole thing to use them as a sacrifice. It doesn't make a lot of sense, as I said earlier. However, I was never bored.
Thir13en Ghosts is a far cry from the best haunted house movies I've seen. But I don't feel comfortable calling it a bad movie. I believe the worst sin a film can commit is to be boring, and this movie was far from boring. It's a fun movie you can use to shut your brain off during movie night and just have some beers with your friends while it's playing in the background. Those movies have a place too.