Ghost ship Review and Opinion


Ghost Ship (2002)
Director: Steve Beck

review by Gary Couzens

In the early 1960s, the passengers on board the glamorous cruise liner Antonio Graza die a gruesome death by means of a steel cable. In the present day, a salvage crew led by Captain Murphy (Gabriel Byrne) and owner/crewmember Maureen Epps (Julianna Margulies) are approached by a young man, David Ferriman (Alex Dimitriades), who shows them photos of a large ship adrift in international waters. This turns out to be the long-missing Antonio Graza, now holed and soon to sink. On board are enough gold bars to make everyone rich. But the ship hides a secret...
   Dark Castle Productions (producers Joel Silver, Gilbert Adler and Robert Zemeckis) are dedicated to homaging or remaking horror B-pictures of the past, from the two Tales From The Crypt films to their versions of The House On Haunted Hill and Thir13en Ghosts. Ghost Ship shares its director, Steve Beck, with the last-named. If it's an improvement on the dire Thir13en Ghosts, that's not saying a lot: it means that it is less flashy, noisy and frenetic, and it doesn't have Matthew Lillard in it. After a promising start, tension and interest slacken noticeably. The older films that the makers have in mind used this time to build up characterisation and atmosphere, planting hints of wrongness and building on them. This is something Beck & Co seem to have no knack for. Instead they pilfer ideas from a variety of sources, to little effect. Gale Tattersall's camerawork has its moment, shooting the 1960s scenes in a somewhat overripe colour, contrasting with the more naturalistic - and often very dark - present day. None of the B-list cast come out of this with much distinction. The fact that it's only 91 minutes long should be a bonus, but it seems padded even at that length.

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