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I'm rather pleasantly surprised after seeing Ghost Ship I expected it to be a lot sillier, more dumb and inferior than it actually is. Still a long way from being a good horror film but a step in the right direction, to say the least. Cast and crew paid attention to building up a horrifying atmosphere instead of attacking the audience with lame and violent killing scenes. That's an effort that gets my appreciation. The vicious opening sequence is professional horror a scene that grabs you by the throat and demands your complete attention and curiosity for the rest of the movie. The high quality level is held up a little while longer but unfortunately it loses his grip during the second half. For as long as the mysterious, deserted ship is portrayed as a complete riddle, the film is fascinating, interesting and beautifully shot. As soon as a few plot-aspects are clarified, Ghost Ship turns into a mediocre and predictable thriller I'm convinced that, with a slightly more intelligent script, this could have become one of the better horror-thrillers since the new Millennium. Now, it's only regarded as a reasonable and decent effort that lacks a bit of talent. Nonetheless, the settings and decors make it worth watching. The graphic decorations aren't overused, so it remains a beautiful experience to observe at least once. Gabriel Byrne is acting far below his normal standards and yet he's still great! All the other cast-members are pretty uninspired and forgettable. I'd describe Ghost Ship as a nice waste of time. If you have the opportunity, I advise you to search for an 80's horror title called `Death Ship' a terrific piece of trash of which Ghost Ship borrowed a lot of ideas.
The savage team of a tug is ready to rest after the transportation of a platform. When they are celebrating in a bar, the plane pilot Jack Ferriman (Desmond Harrington) offers them the chance of rescuing a passenger vessel vanished in the oceans in 1962. Captain Sean Murphy (Gabriel Byrne), Maureen Epps (Julianna Margulies) and the rest of the crew, tempted by the possibility of a great reward, decides to risk one more rescue operation before going home. Their greed leads them, of course, to a ghost ship, where they are spooked and threatened by ghosts. One of them, a little girl, shows Epps what happened to the passengers and crew during the voyage in 1962. A horrible unrevealed secret will haunt the rest of the crew. Ghost stories usually take place in a haunted house. This one is in a passenger ship. This movie is not in the same level of `The Others', `The Shining' or `The Sixth Sense', but is also good film. The screenplay play has some clichés and is predictable, but the cast, direction and special effects work well. Probably, the fans of romances will not like it, but those who like a ghost story will appreciate this film. My vote is eight.
The third movie produced by the production company "Dark Castle" and
managed by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis, "Ghost Ship" (2002) marks a
step forward and constitutes a neat improvement in comparison with the
two previous movies, "the House on the Haunted Hill" (1999) and "13
Ghosts" (2001). This can be checked at the level of a meticulous making
and quite outstanding special effects. It is all the more positive as
with "Ghost Ship", we deal with a B movie. Another good point: the
change of scenery. It is a judicious choice to have replaced the
threadbare topic of the haunted house by the haunted ship.
If the screenplay doesn't avoid all the Hollywood conventions, neither all the clichés of the horror film, the director Steve Beck makes up for it by shrouding his movie an atmosphere of mystery as soon as the crew discovers the ship. He's also imposing (slowly but surely) a progressive rise of the tension which reaches its climax in the end. The result: we come in for a few real moments of fright and Beck, in the long run puts the spectator in his pocket.
As far as the cast is concerned, there are two surprises. First: Julianna Margulies who for once decided to give up scalpels in the "ER" series and especially Gabriel Byrne. An ambitious actor who isn't reluctant to sometimes act in a horror movie which is potboiler for him like "End of Days" (1999) or "Stigmata" (1999).
It is a shame that the end isn't really satisfying and suits badly to the whole. But no matter, "Ghost Ship" remains a nice little horror movie whose main function is to make shiver. For this, it reaches its goal. One last thing, if the movies that come out of the "Dark Castle" production company keep on gaining in quality, maybe will they create a masterpiece one day...
NB:it borrows a bit from "shining".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Ghost Ship" seems to get a "strictly average" rating from most horror
geeks but I've always enjoyed this one. I've seen it quite a few times
over the past couple of years and it holds up to repeated viewings. The
plot is pretty standard (a salvage crew discovers a long-lost cruise
ship, only to find a dark secret once they're aboard) but the film is
effectively creepy, surprisingly gory (especially in this age of
watered-down, PG-13 rated "horror") and satisfying from beginning to
The opening scene (set during the doomed ship's final voyage, when a tightly wound cable snaps and slices through everyone on an outdoor dance floor) sets the tone immediately and makes you go "Whoa! What the hell just happened?" From there we move on to the present day, when a mysterious man approaches the crew of a beat-up salvage boat in a dockside bar and shows them aerial photos of what looks like an abandoned ship adrift in the open ocean. They take him up on his offer to investigate the find, which turns out to be the long-lost "Antonia Graza," an Italian ocean liner that disappeared without a trace 40 years earlier with a full crew and 600 passengers aboard. Naturally, when the salvagers board the mysterious vessel, weird things start to happen very quickly, so the crew desperately needs to get off the ship before it claims them all as victims.
The real star of this movie is the haunted Italian ocean liner. The set design of the Ghost Ship is very effective, showing just how creepy a deserted boat would look after 40 years adrift at sea. Though it must've been a beautiful ship in its heyday, the Antonia Graza is now a rusty hulk, moldy, slimy and covered in rot... all of which only hides the true horror that happened within its walls for so long. Juliana Margulies of "ER" fame is the first salvage crew member to realize that All Is Not Right aboard this ship when she encounters the ghost of a little girl who was traveling alone on the ship's final voyage. As Margulies' crew members poke around in the bowels of the haunted ship, they discover a stash of gold bars in the cargo hold. Naturally, greed makes everyone go a little crazy while the ghostly little "Katie" shows Margulies what happened to the crew and passengers of the Antonia Graza (in a lovingly shot, action packed, blood-splattered massacre scene that even the most hardened gorehound will have to admit is pretty frickin' cool). Gore fans will get a kick out of the various death scenes in "Ghost Ship." We see a swimming pool full of blood (shades of "The Shining!"), people being impaled on giant hooks, guys getting sucked into giant gears, and even some hot Ghost Boobies, until eventually Margulies finds herself facing off against the guy who brought them to the ship in the first place, who is of course Not What He Seemed To Be.
Horror fans have been unjustly dismissing this flick for far too long. I say check out "Ghost Ship" and judge for yourself. It's a well made, disturbing little roller coaster ride that may well put you off of the idea of ever taking a leisurely ocean cruise.
Now this I would call exactly an average film. For me, it landed precisely at the very center of imdb's 10 point scale, right at 5.5. This means that I found exactly as much to like as I did to dislike. There is a bit of inspiration here, but just as much that's stolen from other better horror movies. If it had opted for tone and real fear instead of cheap shocks, the movie could have been great. The story is good enough that it could have been great if handled well. But we do live in these times, and, although there are scholars of the modern era who would try to have us believe that the current generation consists of a bunch of kids who get everything instantly and process it on a billion levels at once, the truth is indeed the exact opposite. No, there is no subtlety here. It would go over your average teenager's head in a heartbeat. Nope, better play it safe and provide us with a gruesome scene up front where a couple of dozen people are sliced in half by a loose cable during a ball. Gore is not scary. I did however produce a dry heave during this sequence, which is more than I can say for any other gore scene that I've viewed lately. As the gore accumulates, I began to appreciate the artistry that was put into the enormous number of deaths. These are some sickeningly creative people, let me tell you. Unfortunately, the director (or screenwriters or whoever) ruins any real potential by revealing every detail about what happened on the titular boat in a fast-motion sequence accompanied by techno music! It's the kind of moment where you just slap your head for the lack of talent involved. And then there was more stuff I liked. For example, the art direction is very impressive. The revelation of one character's identity, while not particularly surprising, is at least somewhat new. I give this film a 5/10, rounding down because I felt the final moment was a bit groan-inducing.
Sean Murphy and his crew are the top salvage experts in the land (well,
sea). They have just completed one big job when a pilot, Jack Ferriman,
comes tot them with a ship that he has spotted in remote, international
waters. It hasn't responded to distress signals and it seems fair game
if Murphy will give Jack a cut and let him come along. Murphy accepts
and they set off. The fact that the ship doesn't show up on radar
doesn't ring any alarm bells with the crew, who board the ship to find
a deserted vessel ripe for the pickings. However she has sustained
damage and has days before she will sink forever. Diver Maureen spotted
a young girl on board is only the first of several strange things to
occur and soon the crew find themselves in deeper than they planned.
Opening with a scene so brutal and gory (made all the worse for me knowing it was coming) that I literally couldn't watch, this film had me hooked at the same time as having me worried that this would just be a big gore fest with nothing else to it. Indeed this is what I had heard, having only read negative reviews for this film. However for the majority it avoids this by being spooky, atmospheric and engaging. The plot isn't anything amazing but it does the job. Many reviewers have said it turns rubbish in the final thirty minutes but to me it was still effective even if it did resort to genre by being gorier and more obvious. It will never win any awards for originality or anything else but it is an effective genre movie that avoids the b-movie schlock of stuff like Deep Rising.
Because it is mostly about atmosphere, the cast are only so-so as they are given little to do. Byrne is a good presence but is slumming it so obviously that he should probably have had a slot in his character's back with a studio exec feeding it every few minutes of screen time. Margulies is better as she has more to do and is a more interesting character; she can work at this level and does. Eldard has some terrible lines but does OK with Urban. Washington is better than this but is quite interesting and has a good screen presence. Harrington plays it so obviously that it is hard not to see him coming, which was a bit of a shame. The direction is good and the design/feel of the film is probably better than the material deserves nicely building up tension and atmosphere as it goes.
Overall then a good genre movie. Better than b-movie stuff, it uses the gore sparingly for the most part and builds up to things well. In the end it may go just where you expect it to and not do anything that special but I found it quite enjoyable for what it was and, in the words of the advert, does exactly what it says on the tin.
Ghost Ship is by no means the worst horror i have ever seen in fact some parts of this film are quite entertaining, the problem seems to be some of the poor digital computer special affect that make this film look like a bit of a B Movie. Some of the affects are good expecially the opening scene where we see the crewe of the ship killed by a steel rope.The acting is ok and the characters are good so that when they are picked off one by one ,you care. There are a lot of question left unanswered though and in stages the scenes apear to have been put in any old order . If you like Horror and dont want a film you have to think about too much then i sugest you give this a go. 6 out of 10.
OK ghost story. The movie starts off with a VERY gruesome bloody
opening with a whole ship full of people being killed in 1962. It then
cuts to present day (well--2002) where a salvage crew is led to a
deserted vessel (the same one from the beginning) and find there's
something inside that wants them. Dead bodies are discovered, doors
open and close (and lock) by themselves and a creepy girl ghost watches
over all of it.
So-so. The movie LOOKS good (the deserted vessel is impressive) but the story is slow and the characters are never fully realized. Also top billed Gabriel Byrne (giving a terrible performance) is hardly in the movie. On the plus side Julianna Margulies is good and a strong female character (unusual in any horror movie) and Alix Dimitriades and Ron Eldard are good as members of the crew. Desmond Harrington also has a few good moments. But the slow pace and a predictable and stupid ending sinks this (sorry). I can only give this a 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love Dark Castle entertainment, I didn't love 13 Ghosts, but I did
enjoy House on Haunted Hill. I loved the original HoHH, and I thought the
'remake' was inventive and had some unique parts to it. It wasn't
but the special effects were beautiful and the sets were magnificent.
As a technical theatre student studying everything from stage management to lighting design these films are wonderful exercise in how to create atmosphere through lighting, sound & setting.
Okay so the film wasn't Oscar worthy, particularly well written or particularly well acted, but it did create an atmosphere it did give us a sense of setting and era... and to top it all off, everything was lush in detail.
The special effects team had done their homework. During the opening scene where they're all cut up by the high-tension cable, not only was it gory and creepy, but it was accurate to a degree. The lighting effects with the light reflecting off the water, the dripping sounds and the sound track were all amazing.
I would watch this film again, but only the opening and the middle part where Katie takes us on a journey through what happened. I enjoyed the film, and that's all films are really about - enjoyment. The background history here was errie and disturbing, there was a definite sense of panic here; made me think about how vulnerable you are travelling on board of a ship, your fate put completely in the hands of total strangers.
A lot more could have been made of the film though. More exploration of the ship, discovery of more bodies or something to alert people that something wasn't quite right about this ship. More background story about the gold! The dead captain told the live captain that they salvaged the gold from a sinking ship, more background was needed.
After watching the film I was left with a feeling of wanting to know 'why' it happened, rather than *what* was going to happen next.
Kudos to the special effects team, possibly the first time I've felt sick watching a film. You knew what was going to happen from the camera shots of the tension cable, but I wasn't quite expecting that! Also kudos to the actors who played the ill-fated passengers, especially to the little girl and the dead captain!
I'd give this film at least 5.5 out of ten, it did what it set out to do -- entertain me and that's good enough for me :)
I would have to recommend this flick. Great idea, terrible script, fantastic special effects/art direction/& editing, wasted cast, & one truly excellent final scene: such a dichotomy! What they really should have done was chop it down to about an hour (excluding virtually every line uttered by the embarassing Latino stereotype called Santos for starters) and present it as one of those "Outer Limits" episodes on cable. It would then be a thrill ride from start to finish. Otherwise, it drags where it should accelerate. Rent it on DVD and fast forward thru the static parts.
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