*** Official "13 GHOSTS" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alex Spindler, Oct 27, 2001.

  1. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    *** Some SPOILERS ***
    I saw the rotten tomatoes scores, so I knew what I was getting into. I was rather lucky that I had my expectations lowered, because I was initially looking forward to this one. The movie certainly isn't the worst I've seen, but there are many, many problems with it that make it an easy target for derision.
    The premise sounds like it has a lot of promise:12 ghosts are trapped in a house and can only be seen with special glasses (which I imagine must have been a hoot back with the special specs the audience could wear). I imagined all kinds of nice situations, and the only one that came close was near the beginning with Shannon in the bathroom (not what you're thinking). Unfortunately, this is pretty much wasted because someone always has specs available and the film just uses quick cuts to attempt to surprise you. There are very few situations that were remotely surprising, as all the jump scares are pretty much telegraphed by the wearing of the glasses. It is summed up as 1) someone puts on glasses 2) ghost jumps at glass 3) repeat as necessary.
    Also unfortunate is that there are too many ghosts for the screen time. Much effort is given to identify and personalize the ghosts (including a ridiculous roll call sequence at the end), but most are entirely inconsequential as only four really have any time (the Juggernaut, the Hammer, the Princess, and the Jackal). A few others get a brief moment, but some others seems to be pretty happy just glaring at people.
    On a technical side, the house itself is not bad, but is certainly eclipsed by The Haunting's Hill House as far as creepy locations go. But it is well conceived, especially with the runes on the glass walls. The machine is a little hokey, but serviceable. The final conundrum is really silly, and drug down the ending entirely. This made the final solution all the worse.
    The ghosts themselves are a mixed bag. Some, such as the princess and the Jackal, are well done and appropriately menacing. Some are more ridiculous, such as the Hammer and the kid with the arrow in his head, are latex jokes that look pretty silly. Most of the rest are uninvolving.
    As far as acting goes, Shaloub tries here and there, but is largely out to lunch. Lillard starts off terrible but improves later in the movie. Shannon is acceptable, while F Murray Abraham is pretty unconvincing.
    As far as the story itself, it contains some stock cliches told in some clumsy exposition that gets repeated more often than necessary. The rest of the movie is silly situations that characters create for themselves and then complicate by repeatedly, and I do mean repeatedly, splitting up. Why they can't see exactly where the ghosts are in a fully glass house is a small plot hole.
    All in all, it isn't nearly as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes score would have you believe. However, a truly terrible opening and a poor ending certainly drag the film down.
    Score : D+
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "13 Ghosts". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link .
    Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review!
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
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    Peter Staddon: "I didn't say you can put 'Monkeybone' back!"
    [Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 27, 2001 at 08:25 AM]
     
  3. stephen la

    stephen la Stunt Coordinator

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    same here about rottentomatoes lowering my expectations..
    but I actually liked most of the movie..the ending was kind of lame.. ie; the haunting 1999..
    it mostly gave a few scares and had a few enjoyable scenes... and not just the nude ghost... matt lillard was pretty humorous,I was kind of disapointed with shanon elizabeth's character.. she didnt do much..the movie could of had a little more character development again my main problem was with the ending.. sort of fell flat, like most horror movies..
    grade:C+
    if youre looking for a scare this halloween.. this is a pretty good choice
     
  4. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    I didn't feel disappointed at all. Maybe I was just in the mood for an easily digestible thrill ride, but 13 Ghosts was worth seeing. When it was over I remember thinking that this film would suffer from being an overused premise. It did but it also held hope as being a film that rose above most of the past efforts and played out refreshingly well executed. Sure, they could have, and maybe should have, called it 6 Ghosts and it would've been more appropriate. They could have taken out some of the ghosts, like the kid with the arrow, the boy and his midget mom and the half torso man and so on and really focused on the main three ghosts and made a much scarier and more controlled film. But, it was still fun to watch.
    My biggest complaint was how Kalina (Embeth Davidtz) managed to get inside the house after it locked down. According to her, she got in when the house "shifted". Huh? Supposedly, the house was sealed. If you could enter when it shifted, why couldn't you escape? And, that's not to mention how certain glass walls with containment spells would shift just at the right moments to stop one of the ghosts from attacking...so, it wasn't perfect. But, as I said, I still found it fun to watch.
    13 Ghosts [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Bruce
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    [​IMG]
    Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
     
  5. Jay W

    Jay W Supporting Actor

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    I caught a peak of this on Friday too (against my will I might add!). Though I was expecting much worse, the quality of the production impressed me. Some scenes were quite well done and the film had a lot of promise IMO. The plot is nothing to write home about but it's not a bad popcorn movie at all.
    ------------------
    [ Home Theater | DVD Collection ]
     
  6. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    I'll second (and third) the lowered expectations rap on this film. It's certainly not one for the canon, but I had a good time with this. Some big plot holes and the extremely expendable Rah Digga (if you are going bankrupt, wouldn't cutting out the housekeeper be Step #1?), not to mention the AWFUL end credits music, but the production design was great and the ghosts were terrific and scary.
     
  7. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    These are the types of popcorn flicks that I actually enjoy watching. Of course, I have lowered expectations but expect to enjoying some thrilling moments. 13 Ghosts delivers on that count, but after the climactic middle sequence, the film tries too hard to find a story and ultimately "homogenizes" the stars of the film, namely the Ghosts.
     
  8. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I have not seen this movie yet, but it was the first time I ever saw Roger Ebert in the years he's done his show with Siskel and now with Roeper, to announce a movie for next week show and to give an opinion before giving the formal review (they didn't like it). It was almost like a warning.
     
  9. Gregory Pauswinski

    Gregory Pauswinski Supporting Actor

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    I had very low expectations going into 13 Ghosts and I feared the worst, but was dragged by some friends. I actually really enjoyed the movie. 13 Ghosts contains some pretty intense moments and ghosts that look like they could have been designed by Clive Barker. I was really happy that there weren't too many cheesy moments, but Rah Digga's Nanny character could have been removed because I didn't care for her comic relief at all.
    If you're looking for a scary movie at the theater this Halloween, definitely check it out!
    Gregory
    [Edited last by Gregory Pauswinski on October 29, 2001 at 03:00 PM]
     
  10. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    I'm just going to say a few words about this.
    I REALLY didn't like this film.
    I thought the story, idea, casting was one huge mistake.
    Not even the some what nice looking ghosts and house could make me like this a little bit.
    The ending was VERY stale and bad.
    DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE!
    RATING=F
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