Thir13en Ghosts [2001]

Cool sets, gory make-up, and frantic energy are given high priority in this glossy remake of William Castle's 1960 haunted-house chiller. The original boasted its "Illusion-O" ghost-viewing gimmick, so this remake's producers--as they did with 1999's The House on Haunted Hill--up the ante on Castle's showmanship by spilling ample amounts of blood, guts, and ghoulish glory. The plot's essentially the same: An impoverished family inherits a luxurious haunted mansion, only this time it's an elaborate, maze-like mechanism of glass, gears, and Latin incantations--"designed by the devil and powered by the dead"--with a cellar full of tormented, undead souls. As the family (including Tony Shalhoub and American Pie's Shannon Elizabeth) enlists the aid of a psychic (Scream alumnus Matthew Lillard) and a ghostbusting paranormal (Embeth Davidtz), this updated 13 Ghosts grows loud and ludicrous, trading shocks for yuks and nuance for nonsense. It's fun, to a point, after which it's just exhausting. --Jeff Shannon

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