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A Ghastly Mistake

Don’t Worry About Missing This One

By Patrick Hereford

staff writer

Directed by Steve Beck

Written by Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D’Ovidio

Starring Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, and Shannon Elizabeth

Rated R

Thirteen Ghosts is one of those movies that slipped through the cracks of the movie industry. Not only did it slip through the cracks, but it actually made it to full production. It is more than likely going to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year.

The story revolves around one family, the Kriticos. Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) captures ghosts in his spare time. To capture ghosts, he inscribes some Latin spells on glass -- containment cells -- which are made to be easy to peek into. Of course, you have to use a special pair of Oakley sunglasses to see the ghosts. These cells are engraved with spells, which prevent the ghost from ever leaving his cell. Cyrus is trying to capture thirteen different ghosts for one reason -- to rule the world. When he captures these thirteen special ghosts, a gateway opens up that combines heaven and hell, and even combines the past, present, and future.

Cyrus (the ghost collector) dies, and leaves his mansion to his poor brother Arthur (Tony Shalhoud), who promptly moves in with his family. What they don’t understand is that the whole house is made of the special glass, and Latin inscriptions can be found on every single pane. Although Kathy Kriticos (Shannon Elizabeth) had a small role in the movie, the movie might have been much better if she had a more involved role. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t believe that Shannon Elizabeth is a great actress. (Anyone remember American Pie and American Pie 2? )

Embeth Davidtz plays Kalina, a woman whose business deals with releasing spirits. Kalina, the archetypal horror genre heroine, attempts to release the ghosts in the house. Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) is a psychic who can feel ghosts’ presence, but he can only see them through the special Oakleys.

This movie basically follows the same routine of other horror films: the mystery, the suspense, the loud music. The only difference between this and others is that other horror flicks are quite convincing in what they are trying to achieve, and they do a good job at it. This movie doesn’t define its characters well enough, doesn’t define the plot well enough, and doesn’t use the actors and actresses abilities to their fullest. Shannon Elizabeth should have been used to some appreciable level. Maybe she should have taken her shirt off like she did in American Pie. At least that would be interesting, and would pique some interest in the crowd. Bottom line -- do not waste $9 to see this waste of a movie.