Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

(On DVD, May 2003) Dull horror film whose only saving grace is the set design and a few interesting sequences. Most of the film takes place in a fantastic see-through “house” with walls made out of glass, with eerie-looking Latin engravings. Very cool looking, and even as the plot degenerates in the usual horror movie silliness, the set is still worth looking at. Well, that’s if you can tolerate looking when the editing chops away every half-second: Rather than allow the tension to build, director Steve Beck defuses everything with a barrage of quick cuts that look an awful lot like every other cheap horror movie since the introduction of the AVID editing console. While the script is strictly B-grade and couldn’t be much improved, this ghost story where the supernatural isn’t always visible could have been unsettling had longer shots of not-quite-visible happenings been allowed to run longer. Too bad, because the credit sequence shows what’s possible with longer shots. Sadly enough, there’s a dearth of violent death here (only surpassed with the dearth of nudity from the live characters), with a body count that fails to include the most annoying members of the cast. (Death even seems to improve Matthew Lillard’s coolness. Go figure.) The DVD contains a short making-of documentary that’s more interesting than the usual promotional fluff. Oh well. It’s a cheap Dark Castle rip-off of an old William Castle B-grade horror films. What were you really expecting anyway?

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