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Thirteen Ghost

By , Newark, DE

The Warner Bros. Pictures' film, " Thirteen Ghost " is a 2001 Canadian-American horror film directed by Steve Beck and based on the 1960 film called, " 13 Ghost " by William Castle. The film is commonly known to be on the top ten lists of, 'worst' horror movies in recent years for many horror fans and is criticized for its dull characters, poor editing, and lack of any actual scares. It's even given a terrible score of only 14% on the reviewing website, " Rotten Tomatoes "! But, is this 15 year old movie really that bad? In my opinion, this movie could be way worse then it actually is and can be a fun watch with friends. But there must be some redeeming qualities in others eyes that can be found when experiencing this film, right?

 

   Rather than being known for movie achievements, director Steve Beck is more commonly known for his role in directing commercials for companies like McDonald's, Gatorade, and First Union. This can be seen as one of the first signs of what many consider shows that, " Thirteen Ghost " was going to be bad in the first place and shows that Beck wasn't cut out to direct an actual Hollywood movie. Beck did directed one other film a year after, " Thirteen Ghost " called, " Ghost Ship " which by almost cruel coincidence also got a 14% on, " Rotton Tomatoes ". Not only was the choice in directors poor, but the casting of actors were all fairly odd choices like Tony Shalhoub, who plays one of the main characters and that same year was in the movie, " Spy Kids ". Also, the choice to cast Matthew Lillard as a main character when he had mostly only been in B-List movies just set the movie up to fail.


The plot of the story begins with the ghost hunting duo of Cyrus Kriticos , played by F. Murray Abraham, and his psychic assistant Dennis Rafkin, played by Matthew Lillard, lead a team of fellow ghost hunters in the mission to capture an evil spirit called the Juggernaut, played by John deSantis. In the end, this spirit is captured, but with the cost of several team members lives and even Cyrus' own life. This begins the downwards spiral of events that leads Cyrus'  nephew Arthur, played by Tony Shalhoub, his two children, Kathy and Bobby, played by Shannon Elizabeth and Alec Roberts respectably, and their nanny Maggie, played by Rah Digga, to inherit the mansion Cyrus was building that just so happens to be filled with blood-thirsty ghosts. Now, the most appealing aspect of the film is the care taken in the production and the physical appearance of both the outside of the mansion and what lies inside. The film takes time to create an atmosphere that gives the watcher a feeling of seeing something surreal and creates a different experience from most other movies. But, that's really only one of the two most acceptable things in this movie when you consider the fact that each character on screen feels lifeless and sound like they're simply reading their lines right off the script.


The second and last decant aspect of the movie is the involvement of the ghost's in the story and their own backstories. Most mentions of the ghost's stories before they became trapped in the mansion is only left for the viewer to interpret from the names of the ghost as they're listed off in the film. But, if you were to buy the DVD and went to the, "Ghost Files" under the Special Features, you will see Cyrus narrating each ghost's backstory. The expansion of the ghost's characters give the viewer a better way to understand each ghost and why they're out for blood rather then leaving Earth peacefully. The involvement of the 13 ghost's is a huge point in the plot of the story and I believe that by leaving the backstories of the ghost out of the actual film, the viewer can't connect fully with the ghost and thus can't connect with the movie.

 

In my opinion, I enjoy the movie and I'll watch it if I see it's on while flipping through channels. But would I buy the DVD or have bothered seeing it in theaters when it came out? No, defiantly not. I tend to enjoy the movie more because I watched it a lot when I was younger and have a nostalgic fondness for it, but if I hadn't seen it so much in my youth, I defiantly would skip right over it. Do I think this movie is worth sitting down and watching? Yeah, I do. But, really only if you want a good laugh or you're with friends and just want background noise. In the end, " Thirteen Ghost " isn't a movie for avid horror fans or people that enjoy great films, but more for people who like to point out every flaw in a movie and make want to make fun of it with friends.




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