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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steve Beck|
|Produced by||Robert Zemeckis|
|Screenplay by||Neal Marshall Stevens|
|Story by||Robb White|
F. Murray Abraham
|Music by||John Frizzell|
|Edited by||Derek G. Brechin|
Edward A. Warschilka
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
(USA & Canada)
|October 26, 2001|
Thirteen Ghosts (also known as 13 Ghosts and stylized as THIR13EN Ghosts) is a 2001 Canadian-American supernatural horror film directed by Steve Beck. It is a remake of the 1960 film 13 Ghosts by William Castle. It was shot entirely around Lower Mainland, British Columbia.
Ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) and his psychic assistant Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) lead a team on a mission to capture a spirit called the Juggernaut (John DeSantis). Several men, including an apparent Cyrus, are killed while the team is able to catch the ghost. Cyrus's nephew Arthur (Tony Shalhoub), a widower, is informed by Cyrus's estate lawyer, Ben Moss (J. R. Bourne), that he has inherited Cyrus' mansion. Financially insecure, Arthur decides to move there with his two children, Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Bobby (Alec Roberts) and their nanny Maggie (Rah Digga).
Posing as a power company inspector, Dennis meets the family and Moss as they tour the mansion. The residence is made entirely of glass sheets inscribed with Latin phrases, which Dennis recognizes as barrier spells. While searching the basement, Dennis is hit by psychic flashes and discovers the twelve angry ghosts he and Cyrus captured are imprisoned in the house, held captive by the spells. As Dennis warns Arthur, Moss slips downstairs and picks up a valise of cash, unwittingly triggering a mechanism that seals the house and releases the ghosts one by one. He dies when a set of sliding doors snaps shut, cutting him in half. Bobby slips away from Kathy and Maggie and enters the basement, where he sees several of the ghosts, particularly that of the Withered Lover - his mother Jean, who had died of injuries sustained in a house fire. He is knocked unconscious and dragged away.
Using a pair of spectral glasses that allow the wearer to see into the supernatural realm, Dennis convinces Maggie that the ghosts are real. Dennis discovers that the Jackal, one of the most dangerous of the twelve ghosts, has been released and that the family is now in grave danger. The Jackal attacks Kathy when she and Arthur enter the basement in search of Bobby, but they are saved by Kalina Oretzia (Embeth Davidtz), a spirit liberator who is attempting to free the ghosts. Kathy disappears soon afterward, and the four adults gather in the library, where Arthur learns that Jean's ghost is trapped in the house. Kalina explains that the house is a machine, powered by the captive ghosts, that can allow its user to see the past, present, and future. The only way to shut it down, she says, is through the creation of a thirteenth ghost from a sacrifice of pure love. Arthur realizes that he must become that ghost by dying to save his children.
Armed with a pane of the special glass, Arthur and Dennis enter the basement to find the children. Dennis barricades Arthur into a corner behind the glass, protecting Arthur but allowing two ghosts, the Hammer and the Juggernaut, to beat Dennis to death. It is then revealed that Cyrus faked his death to lure Arthur to the house; Kalina is his secret partner. Cyrus has orchestrated the abduction of Kathy and Bobby so that Arthur will become the thirteenth ghost, which will not stop the machine as Kalina had claimed, but trigger its activation. Cyrus kills Kalina and summons the ghosts to activate the machine.
Arthur arrives at the main hall and witnesses all twelve ghosts orbiting a clockwork device of rotating metal rings, with his children at the center. Discovering Cyrus' true fate, Arthur fights Cyrus while Maggie disrupts the machine's controls, releasing the ghosts from its power. The ghosts hurl Cyrus into the rings, slicing him to pieces. With the encouragement of Dennis' ghost, Arthur jumps into the machine, avoiding the rings and saving his children. The walls of the house shatter as the malfunctioning machine rips itself apart, freeing the ghosts. Dennis smiles at Arthur and departs, and Jean's ghost appears before the family and tells them that she loves them before she and all the other ghosts disappear. As the family leaves the house, Maggie exclaims that she is quitting.
- Tony Shalhoub as Arthur Kriticos
- Embeth Davidtz as Kalina Oretzia
- Matthew Lillard as Dennis Rafkin
- Shannon Elizabeth as Kathy Kriticos
- Alec Roberts as Bobby Kriticos
- Rah Digga as Maggie Bess
- F. Murray Abraham as Cyrus Kriticos
- J.R. Bourne as Ben Moss
- Mikhael Speidel as Billy Michaels/The First Born Son
- Daniel Wesley as Jimmy "The Gambler" Gambino/The Torso
- Laura Mennell as Susan LeGrow/The Bound Woman
- Kathryn Anderson as Jean Kriticos/The Withered Lover
- Craig Olejnik as Royce Clayton/The Torn Prince
- Shawna Loyer as Dana Newman/The Angry Princess
- Xantha Radley as Isabella Smith/The Pilgrimess
- C. Ernst Harth as Harold Shelburne/The Great Child
- Laurie Soper as Margaret Shelburne/The Dire Mother
- Herbert Duncanson as George Markley/The Hammer
- Shayne Wyler as Ryan Kuhn/The Jackal
- John DeSantis as Horace "Breaker" Mahoney/The Juggernaut (credited as John De Santis)
- Ken Kirzinger as Station Stunt performer
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Reviews for the film were mostly negative. Praise was directed toward the production design but the film was criticized for its lack of scares and a number of strobe effects throughout that could cause seizures. It holds an approval rating of 15% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 94 reviews with an average rating of 3.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The production design is first rate, but 13 Ghosts is distinctly lacking in scares." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 30 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert praised the production values saying, "The production is first-rate...The physical look of the picture is splendid." However, he criticized the story, lack of interesting characters, loud soundtrack, and poor editing. It is on his list of "Most Hated" films.
- "Thirteen Ghosts". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Wee, Valerie (2013). Japanese Horror Films and Their American Remakes. Routledge. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-134-10962-3.
- "Thirteen Ghosts (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "Thirteen Ghosts Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "Thirteen Ghosts". CinemaScore. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- Ebert, Roger (October 26, 2001). "13 Ghosts". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Ebert, Roger (August 11, 2005). "Ebert's Most Hated". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved October 23, 2014.