Thursday, March 4, 2010
Ghost Ship 2003
Director: Steve Beck
Writers: Mark Hanlon and John Pogue
Starring Julianna Marguiles, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Karl Urban, Alex Demitriades, Emily Browning and Francesca Rettondini
Dark Castle to me always does a fine job of making entertaining horror films and until I saw the recent Orphan this one was by far my favorite one. The film grabs you from it's blood soaked opening and does not let you go till the shocking finale. This is a film that really follows the plot idea of the Shining on the high seas and it really goes with that idea. The film has a utter sense of dread throughout and the viewer really feels that most of the characters stuck in the ship will fare about as well as the spectral apportions that inhabit it. The film is graced with a wonderful cast, a great location and a foreboding sense of dread that permeates the entire film and really drenches the viewer into it's atmosphere. The death scenes are blood curdling shocking and a joy for the gore connoisseur to behold. The film really sues the claustrophobic locale of a eerie and lonesome cruise ship very well and you cannot have chosen a better place for a riveting ghost story than that.
The plot basics are this, Canadian Air Force pilot Jack Ferriman (Herrington recruits a salvage ship to investigate a cruise ship he discovered adrift during one of his routine patrols. Once they arrive they discover a long lost and fabled cruise ship, the Antonia Graza. The ship has been lost at sea for over 40 years and it is quite a find for the salvage crew as they discover a cache of gold bars. This seems all great news to the team, until bizarre things begin happening. It seems that the Graza is besieged by horrific evil that is now trying to tempt and envelop the salvage crew. It all boils down to a battle of unspeakable evil and one strong person in Epps (Marguiles) to combat the horrors of the Graza. She has some help in the form of a little girl's spirit, Katie (Browning). It will all depend on how fortified Epp's strength is, if she survives the ordeal or succumbs to temptation like many others have aboard the Graza.
This is a tense and scary film. Beck's direction is taut and tense. He uses the claustrophobic locale of a dilapidated cruise ship very well. He really sets the stage well in the opening scene of the film and once the viewer falls prey to the carnage, they are mesmerized throughout the film. The script is quite good too. Many of the characters like the Captain of the salvage crew and his right hand man have their own strengths and foibles that come into play throughout the story. The twist at the end on who and what is really behind the diabolical happenings is very well hidden and you do not see it till it is too late. The cast is great as well. Marguiles as Epps is a great lead and she has a great chemistry with Browning who portrays Katie the little girl ghost. Byrne as always is a delight and really brings pathos to his portrayal of the alcoholic Captain. Harrington is very good as the Air Force pilot who hides a dark secret that he plays off very well. The supporting cast of Washington, Eldard and Urban are all very good too. The bit part by Rettondini is also very good, she is both sexy and sinister. The SFX and effects are phenomenal. That opening scene of carnage is amazing, though I have a affinity for the hook through the face scene later on in the film. This is a great haunted ship film that I enjoy more with each viewing and I highly recommend it.
This one gets 4 out of 5