Ghost Ship (2002)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Release Date - Oct 25, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - Australia, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

Dark Castle's third foray into the William Castle-inspired horror genre is a tedious, tired mess. From the script, to the acting, all the way to the messy CG effects, this one stinks like the sea it's set on. The filmmakers could say that they were just trying to cater to the popcorn-loving midnight movie crowd, but even then, they failed (see Final Destination 2 for a good example of how to do it right). It's annoying, too, because Ghost Ship had potential -- the first scene alone is almost worth the price of admission. Brilliantly bloody (thanks to the K.N.B. effects) and executed to a tee, it's a genius setup that has everything that horror classics are made of. Unfortunately for the audience, there's another 80 grueling minutes left, none of which even scratches the surface of that opening scene's cool. Filled with jump cuts and sped-up editing, Ghost Ship not only becomes annoying to watch, but there's not even any gore or scares to fill up the rest of the running time. It's not surprising then that style-maestro Steve Beck is behind the camera once again (his second Dark Castle feature after the horrendous 13 Ghosts). How this guy continues to direct fright flicks is baffling, since the only thing he seems to do consistently is screw them up. Acting-wise, all of the players do their jobs, but with no meat to literally any of the characters, who cares? ER vet Julianna Margulies is forgiven for taking the paycheck, but what about Gabriel Byrne? Maybe he too thought that horror movies with creepy little girls are still scary (note to Gabe...they're not). From their ad campaign (stolen from the very similar 1980 haunted-at-sea film Death Ship) to the big CG mess at the end, it's hard to have any respect for this slice of trash. In the end, Ghost Ship will be known for one thing: that beginning. The rest of it can be thrown out to sea.