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13 Ghosts

Director:Steve Beck
Writers:Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio
Warner Bros.; R; 90 minutes
Cast:Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard

In the world of schlocky horror movies, the line between remake, sequel, parody, and straight-faced flop are dangerously thin. This is particularly true in 13 Ghosts, an adaptation of a campy 1960s flick about a luckless man who inherits a haunted house. Tony Shalhoub sulks into this role as Arthur. A fire ruined his life and left him a widow, with children Kathy and Bobby (Shannon Elizabeth and Alec Roberts) in tow. They, along with his maid Maggie (hip-hopper Rah Digga), move into a dangerous home that Arthur's bizarre uncle designed as a holding cell for a dozen malicious ghosts.

The new inhabitants slowly realize what the evil uncle left behind: hordes of unhappy spirits further mistreated by soulless special effects. Oddball psychics (Embeth Davidtz and Matthew Lillard) join the growing crowd. 13 Ghosts is by-the-numbers shock, a B-movie without a sense of humor. The scariest part about this film is that it reinforces Hollywood's notion that black supporting actors must first be rap stars.

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