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Thir13en Ghosts

Year: 2001
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Steve Beck
Writer: Robb White/Neal Marshall Stevens/Richard D'Ovidio
Cast: Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, Matthew Lillard, F Murray Abraham

For all the scary pictures that exist on the web about this movie, it's not a very scary ghost story.

A remake of a William Castle schlock-fest from the 60s, it tells the story of a family who've lost their wife and mother in a house fire and who suddenly inherit a bizarre mansion made of glass from a dead long lost uncle (Abraham).

The uncle was actually a rich despot who wanted to rule the world or awaken some ancient curse or something, and in order to do it he needs to collect the ghosts of 13 people from the spots they haunt. The house is actually their prison, with special spells written on the glass walls keeping them confined.

But (for another reason I either couldn't work out or which made no sense), one of the family members must comprise the final ghost to complete the spell/curse/McGuffin.

It's worth watching for some cool creature effects and Shannon Elizabeth at her cutest (even though she disappears for almost the entire final third) but neither the acting nor the script are enough to really grab you and there are several gaping holes in the logic of the plot that are hard to get over.

It does score a point for taking the practicalities of the paranormal seriously, portraying the psychic who reluctantly works for the Uncle (Lillard) and the tools used as workmanlike rather than mystical. But very little makes up for the narrow creative scope and rushed feel of the whole thing.

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