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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Thirteen Ghosts (review)

Take two of the most vapid, most unbearably unwatchable young actors working today — Matthew Lillard (Wing Commander) and Shannon Elizabeth (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) — and lock them in haunted glass house. Add heavy-metal-album-cover imagery: a ghost with spikes through his undead head, the specter of large-breasted chick slashed all over her naked body. Stir in absurdly unbelievable dialogue, a too-convenient plot, and unconvincing special effects that are all the more outrageously gory for their fakeness. Add increasingly preposterous supernatural hokum, like “enslaved souls,” a “Black Zodiac,” and demonic machinery. Garnish with a lisping child in mortal danger, a ploy to try to steal your sympathy, and a sassy black character to remind us that she is surrounded by “crazy white people,” a ploy to make you think this might all be offered tongue-in-cheek. Overbake for 90 minutes. Remember to weep for Tony Shalhoub (Galaxy Quest), who looks embarrassed to be here, as you wonder what has reduced him to this.


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MPAA: rated R for horror violence/gore, nudity and some language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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