When strange uncle Cyrus dies, he leaves his eccentric, strange house to his nephew and his family. Of course, not everything is as it seems, and Arthur and his children find themselves trapped in a home with a number of different ghosts, collected by Cyrus over the years.
The ghosts aren’t just normal ghosts. They’re violent and deadly, with each one representing part of the Black Zodiac. They’ve been captured and put in the house, which forms a machine. And when the machine activates, there is only a limited time before the Eye of Hell is revealed. With the Eye of Hell opened, the user can see into the past, present and future, making them insanely powerful.
It’s a sort of interesting plot, but the family at the centre of it are the weakest part of the film. Little kid who buggers off because he’s too curious, nanny who’s only role seems to be to freak out and scream, and daughter who’s there to get attacked. Oh yeah, and the dad who has to save them all. Blah blah blah. The most interesting aspects of the film are Dennis, played by Matthew Lillard, and the ghosts themselves. To be honest, I would have loved to have seen more about each of the ghosts, would have enjoyed their own back stories rather than seeing the family run around acting stupid for half the time. (The back stories are, apparently, part of the DVD extras, so I’m going to have to try to watch that somewhere at some point)
Anyway. There’s a couple of jumps and scares in here, but not a hell of a lot. It’s not really a scary film but the premise is interesting and the ghost designs work really well. It’s also worth noting the setting of the house, designed so that it’s never quite clear where the characters are in relation to each other. Aspects of the film are done brilliantly, while others sort of let the film down. Worth watching though, especially if you’re in the mood for something a little bit different.