Thirteen Ghosts

Mercifully short by today’s standards, but at 91 minutes still a tad longer than William Castle’s more comic 1960 original, this pile-driving and pounding ghost thriller from Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis’s Dark Castle Entertainment, which also remade Castle’s House on Haunted Hill, has to its credit Tony Shalhoubplaying, as he usually does, someone with a recognizable resemblance to a human being. That sets him apart from the rest of the castand from the spiffy glass-house set by production designer Sean Hargreaves that’s full of mad-scientist machinery. This house is not a house. It is a machine, says one character, and the same can be said of the moviewhich offers so much frenetic fast cutting to so little purpose that it becomes an ordeal. The others in the cast who are supposed to be human include Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard (who bleeds a lot), Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga, and F. Murray Abraham, who does his standard mad-scientist cackle. Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D’Ovido adapted Robb White’s original script, and the directionor machine supervisionis by Steve Beck. (JR)

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