THE original Thirteen Ghosts was one of the sillier films of showman director/producer William Castle, a man who made his fair version of daft horror movies, usually with a gimmick.
In his 1960 film, his trick was to supply his audiences with cardboard spectacles - or ghost viewers, as he termed them. When the audience put them on, it was said they could see the ghosts in question. He called it Illusion-O.
Alas, there is no such fun to be had with this glossy remake.
It is, indeed, the sheer glossiness of it that removes any trace of horror. There is still a haunted house but this one is hi-tech, made almost entirely of glass and with lots of sliding doors and technological gimmicks.
Spectacles are still required to "see" the ghosts but now only worn by the characters in the movie.
Tony Shalhoub plays recent widower Arthur, short of funds and living in a cheap home with his two kids, a young boy and older sister.
So it is a happy day when his strange uncle, ghost-hunter Cyrus (F.Murray Abraham) dies and leaves him his special house. The family is happily amazed with its vastness and quirky design.
Unfortunately, Cyrus managed to catch ghosts and imprison them in the house in special glass cells, held in place by some occult writing on the glass panels. Then they start getting loose.
With its incessant soundtrack, flash cutting and utter predictability, Thirteen Ghosts soon outstays its welcome even at a short 90 minutes.
The characters are bland, the ghosts comic cuts and the storyline repetitive in the extreme.
Just what a fine actor like F. Murray Abraham is doing in this mess is a mystery. It would have been better if he remained dead as he is in the early stages of the film but I am giving nothing away by reporting that he pops up again.
If the film had been played for fun it might have got away with it but this one expects us to take it seriously.
In the event, it is seriously bad.