Day 14 of the NOFS 31-day horror challenge is 00s horror. At my first thought I wasn’t entirely sure what to choose, but then I remembered when Thirteen Ghosts came out. I knew that it would be my choice as soon as I remembered that. I’ve been a fan of it since I first saw it at a friend’s house, shortly after it was released on DVD. It’s a fan favorite for the horror community as a whole, because among other things is Matthew Lillard.
Thirteen Ghosts was directed by Steve Beck. It was written by Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D’Ovidio with story by Robb White. It was based on 13 Ghosts by Robb White. It stars Tony Shaloub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga, and F. Murray Abraham. Before this movie the main thing that I knew Tony Shaloub from was Wings. This was before his star making role in Monk. He brings a lot of emotion to his role and is a highlight of the movie alongside Matthew Lillard.
Spoilers inbound watch the movie for yourself.
Thirteen Ghosts starts with the trapping of a ghost known as The Juggernaut. This ends with the death of a lot of people in the group, including the financer, Cyrus Kriticos. His nephew is shown during the credits. He loses his wife and his house in a fire. He and his two kids live in a small apartment. He also has a live-in nanny, that does absolutely nothing. He’s visited by a lawyer that tells him about inheriting a house from his uncle. Later that day the whole group go to the house. They’re met there by Dennis Rafkin, who is posing as an electrician. Through some unfortunate events the ghosts that had been captured Cyrus are let loose. The lawyer is killed and Arthur’s kids disappear. Arthur meets Kalina Oretzia, who is there saying that she wants to liberate the ghosts. The truth about Dennis is told by Kalina. Arthur and Dennis go try to find Arthur’s kids. Kalina and Maggie the nanny go to the mechanical center of the house. Maggie is knocked out by Kalina who is with the not so dead Cyrus. While this happens, Dennis is killed protecting Arthur. Cyrus kills Kalina as he goes to finish his plan. He tries to get Arthur to kill himself to finish Cyrus’s plan. Cyrus ends up dying and Arthur and his kids survive. The ghosts wander off into the world. The movie ends with Maggie, having to actually work, quits and the family will finally have more money.
The practical effects done in the movie, especially with the ghosts, are great. Each of the ghosts have such distinct looks. There’s also some CG and it looks dated but that’s bound to happen with as fast as the technology advances. The music was done by John Frizzell. The score is quite good. The design of the house is also one of the most important aspects of the movie.
Thirteen Ghosts is a hell of a movie. You’ll get enjoyment out of it no matter how many times you’ve seen it. If you happen to have it on physical media you can see the special features, which includes backstories for all of the ghosts. You can watch it on HBO Max until the end of October. I will give Thirteen Ghosts 8.5 ghost glasses out of 10.