This haunted house chiller is the second feature from Dark Castle Entertainment, the mid-budget outfit put together in 1999 to remake the cheesy horror genre pictures of William Castle by his daughter, Terry Castle, and producers Gilbert… More This haunted house chiller is the second feature from Dark Castle Entertainment, the mid-budget outfit put together in 1999 to remake the cheesy horror genre pictures of William Castle by his daughter, Terry Castle, and producers Gilbert Adler, Robert Zemeckis, and Joel Silver. Financially ravaged and widowed by a fire that is consuming him with guilt, Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) is left to raise two kids on his own: beautiful teenager Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and grade school student Bobby (Alec Roberts). Good news suddenly drops into their lives when a lawyer visits and reveals that they have inherited a lavish home from a late uncle, Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham), an eccentric ghost hunter. The Kriticos family moves into the remote house only to discover its odd secret: the dwelling contains a state-of-the-art, elaborate system of moving glass walls that trap spirits inside. Soon the ghosts, which can only be seen through the use of special high-tech spectacles, are loose in the elaborate contraption and are none too thrilled about their predicament. With the exits sealed, the family members try to learn the secret of Uncle Cyrus' bizarre mansion and survive supernatural assaults with the help of sassy housekeeper Maggie (Rah Digga), neurotic psychic Rafkin (Matthew Lillard), and Kalina (Embeth Davidtz), an activist championing the civil rights of ghosts. The eyeglasses through which the spirits can be viewed in Thirteen Ghosts (2001) were part of a ballyhoo gimmick involving pairs of spectacles handed out to audiences for screenings of the 1960 original, which was presented in "Illusion-O."
Consensus: The production design is first rate, but 13 Ghosts is distinctly lacking in scares.