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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.49%
Worth A Look: 15.13%
Just Average: 6.72%
Pretty Crappy: 26.89%

6 reviews, 83 user ratings

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Ghost Ship
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by Rob Gonsalves

"A decent rental."
4 stars

"Ghost Ship" is another one of those Dark Castle horror movies, which are usually good for a crappy good time.

Dark Castle is the production house set up by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis, who produced HBO's Tales from the Crypt and obviously enjoy doing their bit to perpetuate the time-honored tradition of the medium-to-low-budget horror film. The movie has few surprises for lifelong horror fans, but it'll keep them (or us -- I count myself in their number) happily diverted for just under 90 minutes.

Things start off promisingly: a mishap aboard the Italian cruise liner Antonia Graza, which went missing in 1962. Proving that Silver or, more likely, Zemeckis has a bit of clout with the MPAA, the opening scene gives us dozens of bloodily dismembered bodies without getting slapped with an NC-17 rebuke. I found the scene as wildly implausible -- if you see it, ask yourself if all the bodies would remain standing -- as it was fun to watch; horror fans are always on the lookout for new ways to affront the human body, and Ghost Ship introduces the dreaded Runaway Cable. Okay, you've seen that before, but as an instrument of mass murder?

A weather spotter (Desmond Harrington) has caught sight of Antonia Graza apparently floating out in the nowhere of international waters; he brings this info to a salvage crew, headed by Gabriel Byrne as a tough Irish captain named Murphy. This is excellent news for Byrne, who gets to retain his accent while downing hard liquor and tersely issuing unquestionable commands. Murphy decides to take his crew -- including the fearless welder Epps (Julianna Margulies), first mate Greer (Isaiah Washington), engineer Santos (Alex Dimitriades), and scruffy crewmen Dodge (Ron Eldard) and Munder (Karl Urban) -- to see if the ship contains anything worth salvaging.

It contains, of course, much more than the crew bargained for, including a newly minted cliché in recent horror: a ghostly little girl (Emily Browning) who turns up now and then to distribute mystifying warnings. (Someday soon, I expect to see a ghost-movie parody in which the herald of supernatural doom is a portly guy with a bad combover.) For fans of The Shining, there's an enticing chanteuse (Francesca Rettondini) who sings passionately and strips merrily to lead gobsmacked men to their doom -- perhaps she thinks she's in a David Lynch movie. Horror fans will also note with bitter amusement that, obeying the rules of the game, the first two victims among the crew are the non-Caucasian ones. My hopes that Ghost Ship would circumvent this rule were dashed when each of the above victims was shown to have a photo of his beloved -- one has a wallet photo of his girlfriend, the other a framed picture of his car.

The movie doesn't know how to use Gabriel Byrne (hint: just point a camera at him and let him be cool), and the big revelation about the bad guy would come as more of a shock if we didn't see it coming about ten minutes into the movie. But the scares arrive on schedule and are crisply mounted, courtesy of director Steve Beck, who manages the unenviable task of making a one-location movie visually interesting without resorting to fancy tactics (having Gale Tattersall as his cinematographer probably helped). And any movie that eventually awards front-and-center status to Julianna Margulies is inherently worthwhile; reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books, I kept picturing Margulies as Anita, but if we don't get an Anita movie series starring Margulies, Ghost Ship is an agreeable alternative.

Indeed, the movie is generally agreeable; the Dark Castle films come with no pretense, no huge stars to throw off the balance of the script (which means any character can die at any time), and no flab. They're certainly not fit to stand alongside the true classics of the genre -- they're somewhere between Roger Corman's run of horror in the '60s and direct-to-video horror of the '90s -- but they're fun, handled with a modicum of craft and respect for the horror audience.

Until the next horror master with the prerequisite combo of vision and madness comes along, the Dark Castle movies will have to do.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6251&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/27/06 19:06:50
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell 2 much gore and effects not enough scares 2 stars
4/07/16 David Hollingsworth Just watch that great opening and the skip the rest. 1 stars
2/26/11 Pamela White typical horror film with no follow through good FX 2 stars
11/11/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess The special F/X is great, btu that's really about it 2 stars
5/22/10 MAJ D FOR HORROR FANS: inventive, interesting setting, characters, great visuals, atmospheric 5 stars
9/07/08 Sean Holland A freaky story and Gore, what else could you want 5 stars
8/14/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! Kept me on the edge of my seat 5 stars
10/29/07 hank3395 hope ther is a sequel!! 4 stars
1/24/07 Matt Interesting premise, but a messy film. Could have, should have, been a great deal better. 3 stars
10/10/06 Pritchett Absolute garbage, not scary, not fun, cliched-as-hell...a total waste of time. 1 stars
5/28/06 Anthony Feor AVOID 1 stars
5/07/06 chienne My 12yo loves it, it's alright - but not a fave 3 stars
3/23/06 Indrid Cold Weak, pointless story. The Mudvayne song is the best thing about this stinker. 2 stars
11/24/05 cr a gory movie and cool story, pretty freaky overall pretty crappy 2 stars
11/20/05 chris not bad 4 stars
11/04/05 Jessica Fortier suspenceful from begining to end! great story line. i loved the bizzar twists 5 stars
11/03/05 Alice C'mon, it wasn't THAT bad. The acting was okay, and some scenes were enjoyable. 4 stars
10/29/05 chris very god movie worth wacthing 4 stars
7/28/05 Chris Waring This film is definately worth watching once, if only to see how crap it is. 2 stars
6/23/05 Mike Hunt quite gory 4 stars
3/24/05 Alice Colwell not all that bad 3 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams I've seen better movies on the Hallmark channel 2 stars
12/02/04 Nari S. Ramzan The begining gore wasn't nessesary but the plot and villian make it worthwhile. 4 stars
11/08/04 Steve Newman very harsh ratings so far (perhaps I am 40 going on 12!!) 4 stars
10/14/04 Don Eckert A great start with a laughable ending and lots of bad acting in between. 1 stars
10/12/04 teshey I Think its so cool i love it 5 stars
9/03/04 Valerie Very intense, but I liked it! Definetly worth a look! 4 stars
5/28/04 Kura Totally funny... So boring >_< 1 stars
5/05/04 Ken I didn't even think the opening was all that great. 1 stars
5/03/04 Joseph Cicala not too shabby 3 stars
5/01/04 Jack Sommersby Slickly produced, totally inept garbage. 1 stars
3/22/04 trent i personaly loved the movie the biggining took me a year to get over and the rest good 4 stars
3/01/04 Whatevr I could get better entertainment by crapping in a VCR 1 stars
3/01/04 Charles Tatum Bloody average 3 stars
12/09/03 Terry A good film with, A 'Final Destination' type deaths at the beginning... 5 stars
11/10/03 HorrorScribbler About as tightly plotted as your slightly below average Love Boat episode. 3 stars
11/01/03 American Slasher Goddess A step up from 13 Ghosts, contains some good gore, but is on the bland side. 2 stars
10/31/03 Lars Kelsen Conventional spook show, but touts a truly disturbing opening scene. 4 stars
10/07/03 Erik Van Sant Dark Castle is on a roll with shitty William-Castle rip-offs. The opening is woth a look. 1 stars
9/28/03 Eloise only thing scary was the weak acting and lame transparent plot. Go see Dog Soldiers instead 1 stars
9/15/03 snowconehead Horrid plot development. Steretypical bullshit with one decent flashback scene 2 stars
9/06/03 Kitty J. Blues Only good part was the ending 2 stars
7/28/03 jekyl wheres Hyde 5 stars
7/13/03 Samuel Justus Fantastic Ending!! Great horror flick!!! 5 stars
7/04/03 Hydref Stupid name, brilliant story 5 stars
6/24/03 sarah boswell it will never be the ring...but it was a really good story 5 stars
6/21/03 may one of the best scary movies of 2002 5 stars
6/19/03 Sammy Gory for no reason and pretty overused premise 1 stars
6/14/03 Ashley Corpening Promising start succumbs to muddled free-for-all. GHOST SHIT would be more like it. 1 stars
6/11/03 Epps This movie kicked ass, some people has issues. 5 stars
6/05/03 Erik Van Sant 'Ghost Shit' is the reason I hesitate to watch horror movies in the theater. Horrible. 1 stars
5/30/03 xXMrSelfDestructXx This movie isnt as bad as all of you make it out to be! 5 stars
5/28/03 Caitlyn It was awesome possum.... Desmund Harrington was so cool, not to mention cute! 5 stars
5/26/03 Jack Sommersby Not an iota of ingenuity, not a scare to be found. A complete disaster. 1 stars
5/24/03 1movie fan this was the greatest horror film ever made. if you didn't like this movie your an asshole 5 stars
5/24/03 Chanelle Watson I Liked Katie 5 stars
4/12/03 Jack Bourbon NO MORE FOOD TURNING INTO MAGGOTS!!! It reminds me of my refrigerator! 2 stars
4/05/03 Dodge This Film is Great what are you people on?However what happened to Dodge? How'd he die? 5 stars
4/05/03 Jessel After a decent opening with great visuals, quickly went to sucking all ass. 1 stars
3/25/03 HE great 5 stars
2/07/03 Sean Hansford the killings are amazing 5 stars
1/12/03 Petitbreton As awful and boring as 13 Ghosts 1 stars
1/02/03 Ashley Corpening Promising start succumbs to muddled free-for-all. GHOST SHIT would be more like it. 1 stars
12/31/02 The Collector "ER" + "LOST VOYAGE" + NUT-FILLED TURDS = "GHOST SHIP" 1 stars
12/16/02 n a the movie sucked ass i hated it fuck off ghost ship 1 stars
11/17/02 Lexie I liked this movie, I don't know what you people are talking about 4 stars
11/14/02 JackG No imagination went into this film. The producers are embarrased and the actors are suing. 1 stars
11/09/02 john sucks cod 1 stars
11/06/02 N/A Best Movie Ever! 5 stars
11/03/02 Chris I was hoping for more of a ghost story than a supernatural killer on the loose story 2 stars
11/02/02 CaRlY n' JaKiE We ThOuGhT iT wAs AwEsOmE eVeRy 1 ElZ iS oN cRaCk!!!!! 5 stars
11/01/02 MaryAnn Wells I loved this movie. The special effects are great and scary, the acting very well done. 5 stars
11/01/02 beatriz can we have a real scary movie now?....dont watch it! 1 stars
10/29/02 Molly I laughed all the way through it. Soooo predictable!! 1 stars
10/28/02 John McNew A tedious, but technically well-made, mishmash of old ideas 2 stars
10/28/02 Human Shield If they could have maintained the viciousness of the starting, it could have been great. 2 stars
10/28/02 eighttx@hotmail.com anyone know the name of the group/song which was playing during the cable scene? 3 stars
10/27/02 Joe Castillo It was great, one of the best movies of the year... if I had a zero IQ 1 stars
10/27/02 Shitmeister Well, it was better than having an enema...but not by much. 1 stars
10/27/02 STEVE um.....better then i thought.although dark castle has failed so far..... 3 stars
10/26/02 Uncle Salty Hey look, it's resident evil! In the ocean! On a boat! And retarded! 1 stars
10/25/02 Steve McLenithan Worst movie I've seen in a long time. Bad story line, bad ending, disgusting! 1 stars
10/25/02 Joseph James It's probably a movie I would have rented except for the fact that I got in for free 4 stars
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  25-Oct-2002 (R)



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