THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001)
Section of the cinematic cemetery: Mansion ghost prison gets unlocked
Cause of (premature) death: For the most part, the reviews sucked. Most said it was far from scary and a very pointless remake. Surprisingly, Ebert did offer some praise for the art direction, special effects, costumes and makeup, but gave it a measly one star, thanks to its choppy cuts, “thin” story and noisiness.
What its tombstone would read: A widower (Tony Shalhoub) inherited a mansion from his ghost-capturing uncle after he was killed by, what else, a ghost. On move-in day with his two children, their nanny and his lawyer, they bumped into a former employee of his uncle, a medium (Matthew Lillard), disguised as a guy from a power company. They toured the very strange house together. How strange? Glass walls with latin phrases etched on them, rooms filled with odd ancient memorabilia, and 12 violent ghosts in the basement. (You find out about the 13th later.)
Why it should be revived: Yes, it’s very campy but once you can get past that (and even embrace it), it’s really enjoyable. The mansion in this film is character in itself, both an art gallery and an intriguing puzzle. The kills are amazing and brutal. But don’t get me wrong, they aren’t distastefully Saw-style, but are rather more of a clever gross-out. Ghosts are unique, complete with 12 different backstories, and their make-up is great, making the face-on shot less of a fear-spoiler. Admittedly, the story isn’t that great but if you can commit to the quick and uncanny ride, it really doesn’t matter.