Volume 95, Issue 32

Tuesday, October 30, 2001
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K-PAX is original escapism

Aged like fine wine: CHRW celebrates 20 years

13 Ghosts perfect choice for a scary Devil's Night

Verve Pipe show Lit some emotion

Digital music is evil

13 Ghosts perfect choice for a scary Devil's Night

13 Ghosts

Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, F. Murray Abraham, Shannon Elizabeth

Directed By:
Steve Beck

Two stars (out of five)

By Dave Hudakoc
Gazette Staff

When you sit down to watch a horror movie, there are certain things you need to realize about the film you are about to see.

First, you should know by now the film's plot is most likely going to suck. Despite trying desperately with every new movie, the horror genre has produced some of the worst movies ever made.

But, for some reason, we keep watching them.


Because even the bravest of us want to get at least a little bit scared.

No matter how hard we try to avoid it, adrenaline eventually surges through our veins. Our hands become sweaty and, deny it all you want, most of us get extremely agitated by the stupidity of the people we watch on screen.

Depending on how prone one is to being overwhelmed by fear, some of us may even begin to cover our eyes.

This happens gradually at first – pretending to scratch your head or rub your eyes until you are fully avoiding eye contact with the screen.

If you are aware and enjoy these effects of horror movies, 13 Ghosts is a great way to satisfy your needs.

The film stars Tony Shaloub as Arthur, a math teacher whose happy life deteriorates following the death of his wife. Conveniently, he gets an uplifting surprise when the death of his long-lost uncle Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham) results in the inheritance of a huge mansion.

However, in traditional horror film fashion, the house is not what it seems. Actually designed as the "eye of hell," the mansion is where Cyrus imprisons the souls of people who died violent deaths and who now seek revenge in the after-life.

Arthur and his family are consequently faced with escaping from this evil-ridden porthole to hell aided only by the help of Rafkin, played by Matthew Lillard.

The performances in 13 Ghosts are mediocre at best. The cast play their characters with just enough sincerity to allow the viewer to feel sorry for them, but still force you to think they're idiots.

Although the acting may be paltry, the special effects are stunning. Each of the 13 ghosts created for this movie are terrifying. With open wounds marking their deaths and an overwhelming sense of evil in their eyes, these distinctly different characters steal the limelight and strike a cold chill down the viewer's spine.

The visual effects were created by Charlie Belardinelli, who has worked on other films like House on Haunted Hill and What Lies Beneath. If these movies scared you at all, 13 Ghosts will scare you tenfold.

In his feature film directorial debut, Steve Beck does a solid job. A visual arts director for films like The Abyss and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Beck holds his own and has taken traditional horror to the next level. Tonnes of gore, tension-building sound and flash cut editing build on the visual effects and leave you thinking you might shit your pants.

Generally, 13 Ghosts is nothing to write home about. It's your typical horror movie – the plot is weak and the acting is mediocre.

But, if you're at all interested in having some frightening faces imbedded in your mind to keep you up at night, 13 Ghosts may just be a nightmare waiting to unfold.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001