A movie that supports the argument of films being crap in the past.
I do jest with that opener, but 13 Ghosts is quite the stinker of a film. My wife and I decided to watch Thirteen Ghosts because she enjoys Monk, and we wanted to see Tony Shalhoub in something else. I did not know that the Shalhoub film was a remake, so we gave the original a try. I have done originals and remakes in one review before, but I think we can have enough fun with these separately.
I have opposing thoughts towards this one: it is a terrible film, but it is so bad that is almost worth watching. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t so bad it is good, but it is so bad that you will wonder what kind of drugs were on hand during the filming.
We follow the Zorba family, who are in financial turmoil (why is never really clear). After the death of a distant uncle, they are given his home in his will. The patriarch, Cyrus has clearly been the victim of a savage attack because he is so stupid there is no other explanation. The house is obviously haunted—everyone warns them about it—yet he does not care. When his daughter Medea and son Buck play with an Ouija Board the thing floats and points to Medea when they ask who the ghosts want to kill. I consider myself a healthy skeptic, but at that point I’m staying at a damn hotel.
You might think there is going to be some sort of story surrounding the ghosts—nope. More or less the ghosts vanish from the story aside from some truly bizarre scenes where Cyrus sees a spinning wheel of fire when he puts special glasses on. Buck also sees the ghost of a lion, or half of it, or two thirds—you kind of have to see it, but the actor is so clearly bored I think he fell asleep during filming. The ghost aspect of the story is so shoved in that I don’t know if it was the original intent. You’d think the importance of the number would be significant, or that the ghosts would have even mild difference in personality.
We also get a kind of convincing courting between the family lawyer Benjamin and Medea, and this was probably the only part of the narrative that didn’t feel like it was written on copious amount of hallucinogens, but of course this cannot last. Benjamin is after the family fortune that has gone missing, so he wants to scare the family out of the house—sure, fine, but why bother with courting Medea?
Fake ghosts and real ghosts and all kinds of bullshit permeate this story. I was transfixed by the film as I could not believe that this was ever released—let alone remade. The terrible acting and truly stupid characters make this one for the record books. I think this is a perfect film to watch with friends to lampoon, but that is about it. It certainly doesn’t work as a horror, and the only comedy is completely accidental. Give it a try if you’re bored, or drunk. 2/10