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Ghost Ship

A movie directed by Steve Beck

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The Shining at Sea

  • Oct 21, 2002
Pros: Interesting idea.

Cons: Average effects, dull story.

The Bottom Line: Nothing new here.

Sailors of old have often passed long, cold, and lonely nights at sea with tales of ghost ships that travel beyond this realm accumulating victims to their spectral crew with each appearance. There have been several boats that have vanished only to be found without a crew, and such tales have inspired films for years. There has been the monster in the dark variety such as “Deep Rising”, to the supernatural with a twist such as “Event Horizon” which attempted to give a new twist to the old genre by substituting a space ship for an ocean going vessel.

This Halloween season brings us two new entries into the genre in an attempt to scare up some revenue from a season that is surprisingly devoid of the traditional slasher films. Last week saw the gripping and creepy submarine film “Below” surface in theaters and this weekend will bring audience and the first sighting of the new film “Ghost Ship”.

The film centers on the crew of a salvage ship in the Bering Sea. The captain of the ship Murphy( Gabriel Byrne) is a loyal and dedicated captain who watches out for his crew and is something of a father figure to them especially to the only female on the crew Epps (Julianna Margulies). While relaxing after a successful salvage effort, the crew is propositioned to investigate a mysterious but large ship by a pilot who claims he has recently seen the ship. For a percentage of the bounty, the pilot provides the crew with what he knows and tags along as they set out to locate the ship.

The crew eventually arrives at the ships and discovers that it is an Italian luxury liner that has been missing for nearly forty years. The crew boards the derelict and finds it abandoned but a treasure chest of salvage opportunities and with visions of dollar signs motivating them, set out to repair the ship in order to tow it back to port. Now this would not be much of a ghost story if everything went as planned so naturally all manner of strange and tragic occurrences start to befall the crew, especially once they uncover a cache of unmarked gold bars that is worth hundreds of millions. Of course all hell breaks lose in no time and the crew is forced to try to escape with their very lives.

While the storyline of “Ghost Ship” is very simplistic and has been shown many times, there are some interesting diversions in the film. I found the opening scene while predictable to be a very effective and fresh scene that had many in the screening audience gasping with shock and morbid delight. The special effects were nothing outstanding and the characters were not well developed at all. I found the captain to be the most underdeveloped as we were told early in the film that he never drinks yet see him struggle with a bottle later when he has the opportunity to have a drink in private. The suggestion is that he is a recovering alcoholic yet this point is sadly not developed at all and he like most of the cast are left as bland charactures that generate little to no sympathy for them or their well being from the audience. I did like the way that the film incorporated ideas from “The Shining” as manifestations from the past interacted with the cast making them question reality and react with the images even if it ultimately lead to their doom. I was reminded of Nicholson’s character descending into madness as he returned to drinking while conversing with the ghostly bartender in the snowbound hotel. Sadly though “Ghost Ship” lacks the gripping drama and characters of “The Shining” and Byrne seems to be walking through his role wasting his talents on a part that is paper-thin at best. There were a few nice twists now and then but far to little to keep this sinking ship afloat. My advice, save this one for a rental.

2.5 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach

International Association of Film Critics.


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More Ghost Ship reviews
review by . November 27, 2008
Ghost Ship
Wow! If you love a great splatter scene, you will be hooked on this movie within the first five minutes. Remember when the lawyer split in Thirteen Ghosts? Within 5 minutes of Ghost ship a cable on a luxury cruise ship snaps and slices an entire deck full of people in half. Awesome special effects here! The main premise of the movie follows a salvage crew hired by a man who claims to have found a large derelict vessel, offering them a large percentage to help him haul it in. They find the ship, …
review by . October 18, 2004
The ocean and her countless waves have always provided excellent fodder for storytellers throughout all time. There are more tales about ghosts, ghouls, and monsters on ships and under the water than we can ever dream of. For that reason, "Ghost Ship" was tested hard to give any originality to it's story. "Ghost Ship" does manage to dig up a little originality, but in the end, it's just another ghost flick where one bad apple spoils the whole tree.    It is a very slick film …
review by . January 21, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I am balancing the scale here, forgive me.Ghost Ship was actually better than I expected, with an opening that beats-out the rest of the film. Another example of this formula can be found in another slightly better film, "Event Horizon", which is on a 'space-ship' rather than a regular one.An ocean-liner disappears many years ago, only to be discovered again inhabited by ghostly beings. There are some parts better than others, with some good old/new fashion jumps. That's what really counts nowaday's, …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #37
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


Starring Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington
Directed by Steve Beck
Writer:  Mark Hanlon

Product Description
In a remote region of the Bering Sea, a boat salvage crew discovers the eerie remains of a grand passenger liner thought lost for more than 40 years. Once onboard, the crew must confront the ship's horrific past and face the ultimate fight for their lives.

In the midst of a 1962 pleasure cruise, the passengers and crew of Italian luxury liner the Antonia Graza are systematically slaughtered and left in pieces by a gang of terrorists. Forty years later, the ship is spotted drifting in the Bering sea. Fresh off a six-month journey, an Alaska-based seafaring salvage team lead by Murphy (Gabriel Byrne) and Epps (Julianna Margulies) are approached by a Canadian weather spotter (Desmond Harrington) who noticed the derelict vessel on a flyover. Tempted by the possibility of untold riches, the crew takes on the job of tracking down the ship. Once aboard though, strange things start to happen, beginning with Epps's sighting of the ghost of a little girl. After the team finds a cache of gold, all hell breaks loose, and the angry ghosts make themselves known--and begin destroying the intruders one by one. <br> <br> Purely and simply a floating haunted house tale, GHOST SHIP is a creepy thrill ride that compensates for its lack of originality with some creepy art ...
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Director: Steve Beck
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 25, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: John Pogue, Mark Hanlon
DVD Release Date: March 28, 2003
Runtime: 1hr 31min
Studio: Warner Bros Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment
First to Review

"The Shining at Sea"
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