Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Ghost Ship (2002)

"Ghost Ship" (2002, Steve Beck, Dark Castle Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros.) is a film about a haunted cruise liner.

The opening scene to this film is a really fun bit of carnage. I had seen a short clip of it on You Tube that essentially drove me to hunt down this film. The scene might be a little against the laws of physics, but it's fun regardless.

We follow a salvage crew (Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Marguilles, Isaiah Washington, Ron Eldard, Karl Urban and Alex Dimitriades) on their tug boat as they hunt down a bounty that was brought to their attention by a stranger in a bar (Desmond Harrington). When they come across the abandoned cruise liner in international waters they think their dreams have been answered, especially when they go aboard and find everything left as it was. By maritime law that would mean that it is rightfully theirs. However, they are unnerved to find that there are no traces of people left on board. They find out that the cruise liner disappeared in the 60's and there were no survivors.... Deciding it might be best to leave, the team attempt to escape, but a presence on the ship has other plans for them,,,

A very early 2000s film with a soundtrack seemingly composed entirely of Mudvayne (not a complaint but it felt very odd with the setting). The action is hokey with all the usual haunted house tropes and, aside from the initial scene, the film doesn't offer anything new to the genre. It's difficult to set a period horror in a ballroom without accidentally ripping off The Shining. And Ghost Ship also doesn't manage to avoid this, with several overly reminiscent scenes. But it's not awful. It's silly and a bit predictable, but the characters are more rounded than I anticipated and sometimes a bit of the familiar isn't a negative.

Frankly, I've seen much worse films. At least this one had a few fun scenes and a plot that kept moving. It's not a groundbreaking piece of cinema, but it's definitely a film I would have added to my high school horror collection back in the day.

[Image: Dark Castle Entertainment]

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