Ghost Ship
Grade: C-
Year: 2002
Director: Steve Beck
Writer: Mark Hanlon
Genre: Horror
Rated: R

Where to begin on my long list of criticisms of Ghost Ship? First, I'll get the basic storyline out of the way before I go to town on what is awful about this movie. Roughly 40 years ago, the Antonia Graza, an Italian luxury liner, was coasting to America with more than a few hundred people onboard. Something terribly goes wrong. In one of the most gruesome scenes of body dismemberments and decapitations you'll ever see on screen, (and the reason for the extra star I gave it) you get to see a massive slaughtering in which the details I won't reveal.

Besides what I've stated, a bunch of crazy and far-fetched events take place, and it leads us to the present day, where a band of salvagers stumble upon the remains of the cruise. If you've ever seen the horrible movie Virus, you'll already know almost everything about this movie. Ferriman, (Desmond Harrington) a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force, has spotted the ocean liner while flying over it monitoring weather patterns, and takes the photographs he took to the crew that he will accompany on the voyage to recover it. The captain of the salvage crew, Murphy, (Gabriel Byrne) explains that the boat is in international waters; which means that anybody can claim it. Once they haul it back home, they will sell it for millions.

The crew is a horrible bunch of roughnecks, and within that group is only one likable character, and that is stretching it. ER's Julianna Margulies is Epps, the sweet girl co-owner who is like a daughter to the captain, only she isn't. She is the first one to see the ghosts that are still onboard, and of course keeps it to herself. If only she would warn her crew, but of course then they would all think she's crazy. The rest of the crew are an odd bunch of greedy men who never see the danger they're in while on the haunted cruise ship. Again; standard recipe for a horror movie. It doesn't matter that all of our lives are hanging in the balance; we're not leaving until we have the treasure in our possession.

Greer, (Isaiah Washington) at one point, begins to take his clothes off when a beautiful woman appears in front of him. He knows it's only his imagination, but still pursues it like he's about to get a little action. He even justifies to himself, that cheating with a figment of his imagination isn't really cheating at all.

Then you have your typical bait which is the rest of the crew; Dodge (Ron Eldard), Munder (Karl Urban) and Santos (Alex Dimitriades). Their purpose in the movie is to venture off, disappear and reappear several times. (Again, not straying from our recipe) And of course, no horror movie is complete until you have at least two characters who go out of their way to scare their unsuspecting crew mate, not knowing that 'the boy who cried wolf syndrome' will come back to bite them. Continuing with that formula, is a director who uses that exhausted tactic to generate a jump from the audience. But it never works in Ghost Ship. It's not scary; it's boring. Most of the movie is nothing more than the crew exploring long and deserted hallways and guest rooms.

The photography is the only good quality about the movie. The haunting scenery and an impressive atmosphere is something to appreciate. It's been done before, but the effects are cool. But director Steve Beck (Thirteen Ghosts) doesn't take advantage of the creepy looking boat. At least in this one, when the ghosts appear, you do actually get to see them without the fast and flashy effects that tainted 13 Ghosts.

And topping off our recipe to a cliché filled horror movie, is the mediocre plot twist. But it's so pointless, that even those who didn't predict it will leave the theater saying, "So that's it?" In other words, it's nothing special. It appears as if the writers wanted it to be clever, but forgot that the twist for a horror movie is supposed to be shocking, scary, jaw-dropping, not one that is so off-the wall that it's just plain stupid.

Should you see this movie depends on how much you value the two good qualities of Ghost Ship. If you like to see detailed death and violence and/or a good looking backdrop, then I can say this movie won't be a waste of your time. If you want a good horror movie, don't get on this boat.

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