Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Remake Your Own Damn Movie!: Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Are you just trying to ruin everything?  For all the crap Remakes we've seen in the last few years (see Platinum Dunes), it is important to remember that it is not a new trend.  There was that weird period in the 1990's when Roger Corman was Remaking his own films, for example.  On a related note, there was that time when films from the late 1950's and 1960's were all getting Remakes.  You got The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill and this film.  There are actually a lot of interesting similarities between the last two films.  Yes, they are both Remakes of William Castle films...but is that a good excuse?  No.  The film tells a similar tale to the Castle film, although it takes some major liberties with how the whole thing is presented.  On the plus side, Greg Nicotero and his Company worked on the film, so the Ghosts look cool.  Is this style over substance?  To find out, read on...
Unlike the Original, we see the Uncle.  Oh and he's a complete asshole that gets his men killed to capture the ghosts.

Look, the Uncle in the 1960's film was probably bad, but only seemed to hurt himself.
After collecting the 12th Ghost, he is killed.

This is is nephew.  Yeah, I'm sure that F. Murray Abraham and Tony Shalhoub are related.  Right.
The guy leaves a video will to Shalhoub, telling him that he has inherited his house.

What's silly is that the video stops and restarts itself two times!  How does a Quicktime file do that?  What unholy version of Snow Leopard is this?!?
Shalhoub's wife is dead- which is told to us via lazy narration during the Credits-, so he's there with his daughter (Shannon Elizabeth- who is apparently part-Lebanese), his son and his Nanny.  She's the only Black Character, but she actually survives.

One point for the movie, I guess.
The Lawyer actually dies first, as opposed to being the last potential victim in the original.  His death is a good pretense for some creative gore, even if a pair of Mythbusters would probably tear it a new one.

They haven't done this yet, have they?
As it turns out, the house is made up of glass-looking panels that are covered in runes to hold ghosts in.  The reason for this is eventually addressed and a bit silly.
This lady- who previously shows up twice- just kind of appears at the house.  She seems to be there to help, but is actually evil.

I'd question why she was suddenly working with the Uncle- who's also alive-, but she gets crushed by glass panes before it could become an issue.
The Uncle apparently faked his death to get Shalhoub there to use as a sacrifice- the Thir13enth Ghost.  Why he didn't just go 'Here- stay at my Mansion!' is anyone guess.

Anyhow, he uses the Ghosts as part of the Black Zodiac- which was probably a comic book in the 1970's- to do...something evil.  I stopped really caring at this point.
The Nanny smashes a bunch of shit and the magic whatever that was holding the Ghosts in check stops.  They kill Abraham instead, which I guess solves everything.

Oh and the Nanny goes all 'Amos & Andy' about how scared she was.  How progressive.  The End. interesting to look at, but otherwise dumb.  I hate it less than I remember hating it previously.  That said, I only hate it less because I really just don't care.  It is a big, shallow mess.  The Ghosts look neat.  The set design is interesting.  Other than that, it is a bunch of gore scenes, a bunch of jump scares and a plot that is either confusing or silly.  I seriously forgot what exactly the point of the whole 'Thirteen Ghosts' thing was and I only watched the film like two days ago.  Yes, I am too lazy to just look it up again.  So, in summary, it's not interesting enough to be terrible, nor is it good enough to be memorable.  Just like this guy, let's just split the difference somewhere...
Up next, I make a nice, long stretch to cover something 'new' for Thanksgiving.  If any film will bring out the crazy YouTube Trolls, it will be this one.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Unlike the remake of The Haunting I actually enjoyed the Dark Castle redos. 13 Ghosts has good looks but it's hamstringed by the family stuff... as was the original.
    My main complaint with both the 13 Ghosts and The House on Haunted Hill remakes... and Ghost Ship for that matter... are the lame endings with happy Casper ghosts or souls ascending to heaven... similar stuff is in the uber crappy remake of The Haunting as well. Mr. Castle himself seemed to prefer going out on a more ghoulish note.