Thir13en Ghosts on DVD – The DVDfever Review

Thir13en Ghosts

Thir13en Ghosts: If you’re going to be left a house by someone in their will, make sure it’s not that left by Cyrus Kriticos in this movie, unless you fancy living in a haunted house that resembles the inside of the cube in the Hellraiser series.

Some time ago, Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) lost his wife in a house fire and is having to raise his daughter Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and younger son Bobby (Alec Roberts), not to mention their nanny Maggie (Rah Digga), although you have to question why anyone without money for a decent abode would splash out on a hired help.

More recently, ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) lost his life and left the aforemention house to his nephew Arthur, but once the whole family enters they have to release all 12 ghosts in the house… Well, female ghost hunter Kalina Ozerene (Embeth Davidtz) reckons there’s 12 until Cyrus’ accomplice Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) explains exactly who and what the 13th one is. The ghosts can only be seen with the aid of special glasses and, as the film progresses, the Latin text spread around the house is given a reason and you find out what Basileus’ device is.


Did the lawyer split?

From there the film plays out like a cross between Ghostbusters and Scooby Doo as the gang run around the house trying to escape from the undead and since Matthew Lillard stars in the 2002 summer film based on the aforementioned cartoon, it’s rather apt that he’s running about this place and all that’s required is for him to shout “Yoinks!”

On the plus side, the film is a short one, since it’s an unconvincing mish-mash of running about mixed in with quick-cut footage as the baddies do their worst, but we’ve been down this path so many times before it’s not even funny now and barely entertaining. You know that for no apparent reason both Cyrus and Arthur’s dead wife will pay them all a visit and in the end good will triumph over evil.

To summarise the film’s lack of conviction, it completely fails to draw you in to the family’s plight and completely washes over you as forgetable as an early morning splash of water across your face. As such, you know everything will turn out alright, although you hope all the good guys will suffer quick horrible deaths so the short running time is cut in half. I couldn’t wait for it to end it was that bad.

Sorry, Columbia Tristar, but this is probably the worst film I’ll see all year.


Hey, who’s your friend?

The best things I can say about the film are in this section since I couldn’t fault any part of the audio-visual presentation.

The picture is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen ratio with a colourful and crystal clear look to it, no motion artifacts at all and bold textures throughout.

The sound, while repetitive, is superb and if you do find yourself drawn into the nonsense you’ll be pleasantly rewarded with a soundtrack that will have your neighbours banging on the walls for days as the quick-cut footage is complemented with equivalent sound FX that never disappoint. As a result, it’s just a shame I found no ‘fear factor’ here.



The 19-minute featurette, ‘Making Of’ Featurette, mixes in letterboxed clips from the film in with chat from cast and crew members to explain how it was based on a 1960s movie directed by William Castle, a 3D affair in which the audience would get the benefit of seeing the ghosts with the help of the glasses that the characters use within. Other aspects of the film are discussed including the prosthetics of the baddies and the house’s design.

Thir13en Ghosts Revealed is a 13-minute featurette which describes each of those apparations with a voice that has echoes of Garrett as he talks you through each mission in Eidos’ PC game, Thief II: The Metal Age.

These are followed by text-based Filmographies and a William Castle biography,plus Trailers for this film, Hollow Man and another of this summer’s blockbusters, Spider Man, though sadly not the cool trailer withdrawn from cinemas last year which featured a web spun between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. All three trailers are in anamorphic 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Finally, there’s an audio commentary from director Steve Beck, who also performed visual effects work on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt For Red October and The Abyss.

There are 28 chapters to the film, the subtitles are in four languages (English, Italian, Dutch and Columbia’s favourite, Hindi – I say that because no other company seems to bother, although Warner have an affinity for Arabic) and the main menu is scored with bizarre chants in Latin.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 87 minutes
Studio: Columbia TriStar CDR32043
Year: 2001
Released: July 22nd 2002
Region(s): 2, PAL
Chapters: 28
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, Italian
Subtitles: English, Italian, Dutch, Hindi
Widescreen: 1.85:1
16:9-Enhanced: Yes
Macrovision: Yes
Disc Format: DVD 9

Director: Steve Beck
Producers: Gilbert Adler and Dan Cracchiolo
Screenplay: Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D’Ovidio
Music: John Frizzell

Arthur Kriticos: Tony Shalhoub
Dennis Rafkin: Matthew Lillard
Kathy Kriticos: Shannon Elizabeth
Maggie Bess: Rah Digga
Kalina Ozerene: Embeth Davidtz
Cyrus Kriticos: F. Murray Abraham
Bobby Kriticos: Alec Roberts
Ben Moss: JR Bourne