Ghost Ship

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated R for strong violence/gore, language and sexuality 
Starring:Gabriel Byrne, Julliana Marguiles, Ron Elard, Emily Browning, Desmond Harrington, Issiah Washington 
Directed By:Steve Beck 

Final Grade: 

When I was younger I used to always have this fear of creepy old ships. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I couldn’t swim, so I was always terrified of drowning. Nevertheless, I was creeped out by boats of just about any size. I can’t say I’ve ever been to sea, and my furthest water adventure has been on the middle of a lake, which wasn’t much more than a large mud puddle. My life is safer that way. I’m proud to say that the nearest I’ve been to the middle of the sea, or even a cruise ship is on the movie screen. I’m quite happy this way and watching Ghost Ship didn’t make me want to head out to brave the water anytime soon.

Ghost Ship is the story of a group of boat salvagers who take on a job presented to them by a mysterious plane pilot who crosses their path. He tells them a story of a ship, that he has found drifting in the ocean, and he wants them to help him bring it in. Since the potential for what they think may be some easy cash is at hand, they take the job and head out to sea. Once they make it there however things get a little more eerie. The ship seems to appear out of nowhere, and strange occurrences begin to happen when the crew gets on board the old vessel. As the crew tries to figure out if their imaginations are playing tricks on them, or if the drifting vessel is haunted, they learn the truth behind the mysterious ship, it’s former guests and their mysterious deaths.

All in all, the movie is going to get more of a bad wrap than it deserves. Steve Beck directs this suspenseful thriller and gives us a decent flick. I was a little leery, especially since his previous work Thirteen Ghosts was such a flop, and a waste of my money. But all in all, I thought Beck pulled through in this one. Cinematically, there were many things that kept you watching. The film was shot in a manner that just gave you that natural creepy vibe through most of the movie. The film was also nicely scored, and the music only enhanced the film. In a suspense/ thriller sometimes music can make or break a film. You can have too much suspense music and it becomes cheesy, not enough suspense music and it leave the audience not frightened at all. Like I said, it can be a fine line. This film walked that line perfectly.

And now on to our actors. Who are these people? Sure those die hard people who have watched TV’s ERfor years can point our actress Julianna Margulies, who played Nurse Carol Hathaway, but all in all our cast is a bunch of faces that we haven’t seen much from. Despite that however, this is a group of actors that complimented themselves nicely. Every one of them played their role. None of them out shined the others, and no one did anything so outstanding that they deserve great honors, but they did their part, and there is a certain level of respect that I have for that. Emily Browning plays young Katie, an apparition the crew sees on the ship. Her role is that creepy little girl that is innocent and sweet yet creeps the hell out of you. Why? Because she is dead! Browning does a wonderful job in this film for her simple role. Way to go on that Emily! I haven’t been that creeped out by a little girl since the little holographic girl in Resident Evil. Kudos to the person who cast this movie, and kudos to the actors for a job well done, hopefully I will see more of them in future films, since I think a few of them have potential.

Now every movie has its flaws. And if I didn’t point them out, I wouldn’t be a critic now would I? That and it would look like I am the worse critic of the two that write for the site, since Michael can be a real jerk about films sometimes. Ghost Ship lacks something. It foreshadows things at the beginning, such as a relationship between two of the crewmembers that never really goes anywhere. There are multiple other examples of this as well. Beck’s direction gives us plenty of foreshadowed images such as dead doves, etc that the average viewer would overlook. At times this imagery, if you start to look for it can be a little overbearing, and almost too much. But like I said since I seem to be the only one who notices stuff like this, and over analyzing things is part of my English major, it’s easy to forgive Beck for such things. There were some examples of some poor dialogue and even some mediocre special effects in spots, but creepy gore, such as the first 5 minutes of the film makes up for it all.

When I went into Ghost Ship I was expecting nothing, but believe it or not, I came out with something. It only enhanced my fear of creepy old boats, gave me a reason to still hate water, but a reason to give a thumbs up to Steve Beck. All in all Ghost ship is a borderline film. It’s nothing outstanding, but it’s a thriller/ suspense film. You aren’t supposed to gain new insight on life or look at the world in a different way after viewing it. It’s there to entertain you. It supposed to leave you a little creeped out and on the edge of your seat for a few seconds (or hiding, shivering in a little ball in your seat). For a movie that I thought was going to sink faster than the Titanic, Ghost Ship turned out to be a film that will stay afloat on my rating scale, yet sadly enough will quickly drift out of the box office and out of people’s memories. 

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