By Glenn Ferrara
What do “13 Ghosts” and anthrax have in common? Both will make you violently ill if you come into contact with them.
One of the worst films of the millennium is a scary movie that isn’t scary, and a special effects film whose effects are not very special. And if you must go to this movie, and I implore you not to, be sure to wear two blindfolds.
The premise is overly complicated for a film with such low expectations.
Miscreant F. Murray Abraham (“Amadeus”) and the whiny Matthew Lillard
(Shaggy in next year’s “Scooby-Doo”) start things off with an elaborate ghost hunt, which nets one specter but fells Abraham. Enter sad-sack Tony Shaloub (“Spy Kids’). As Abraham’s lone heir he is presented with a fascinating glass mansion, the one possession his late uncle had.
Before you can say, “Don’t go in the spooky house” Shaloub, his kids, Alec Roberts and Shannon Elizabeth (“American Pie”), and their live-in help, Rah Digga, rush into the obvious death trap without a second thought.
A praiseworthy accomplishment in visual design, the house sports transparent walls etched in Latin and rooms stacked with creepy odds-and-ends that look like they came from Count Dracula’s yard sale — sounds like a perfect place to raise children.
After a thankfully short introductory period, a dastardly plot is put in motion. Eleven ornery ghosts captured by Lillard and Abraham are unwittingly let out of their basement cages to wreak havoc throughout the house. The family’s only protection is some ghost-detecting glasses and the now fair-hearted Lillard, returned to help out the good guys.
As the film progresses, it degenerates into a constant 20-meter ghost dash. A typical encounter with a ghost: Human sees ghost, human runs, ghost chases, human goes around a corner and gets away, that’s about it. This formula might be good for a jolt once or twice (and that’s being kind) but 10-plus times in one movie is a little ridiculous.
As for the monster effects, well, some of the ghosts are horribly nasty, but others would have been stale 10 years ago. Either way, you don’t get a very good look at any of them (except the naked one).
A better idea: Allow us to see the ghosts, hide the rest of the film.
Reach Qguide revieet Glenn Ferrara by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.