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Thir13en Ghosts

Who Let the Ghosts Out? 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Every so often a film comes along that presents an easy target for soulless movie critics - a film that has no social merit, little common sense, and comes across as so derivative that they believe there was no point in making it at all. Thirteen Ghosts is such a film. It received a critical savaging on its theatrical release, but the reviewers all seemed to miss one vital element - it's bloody brilliant.

And I do not use the word "bloody" lightly - this film surely pushes the '18' certificate boundaries as far as they'll go. Rooms are literally caked in the red stuff - ghosts drip like leaky taps, characters drop left and right in geysers of gore, and in the midst of all this a family drama of sorts threatens to rear its ugly head, before retreating before a wave of blood, guts and outrageous acting.

The film starts off as it means to go on - in a dimly-lit junk yard a selection of ghost-fodder workers are trying to capture an invisible spectre, who proceeds to make short work of them all before getting caught in some kind of glorified 'ghost-trap.' Jump across to recently bereaved Tony Shaloub and his ridiculously loving family. They've been left a really cool glass house by their nice, dead Uncle Sirus. Oh no, but isn't Uncle Sirus the guy who was collecting all those ghosts? And what is that big machine chugging away in the basement? And why are there "Containment Spells" written in Latin on all the walls? Something scary is afoot it seems, twelve "somethings" in fact, and they are rather angry.

Thirteen Ghosts is pretty much the most wildly amusing film to have been released thus far in 2002. Ludicrously over the top at every turn, from Lillard's bug-eyed, shouty-shouty performance to the wonderfully designed glass house, to the extraordinarily gruesome ghosts (who can only be seen with the aid of nifty "spectre-scope" spectacles.) Taken in parts, this film ought to fail miserably, but thanks to its sheer gutsy determination to give you a good time, it succeeds in spades. Ignore the critics and give this a whirl; you won't regret it!

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)