Well, dearest reader, this is a very special article you are reading right here. After 6 years of publishing this sailing magazine, this is my 666th post. You are damn right, the number of the beast, angel number 666. I am not very religious so I won´t stress this digit sequence too much, but of course I cannot publish an ordinary sailing-related article neither. So I thought which content may suit best and initially planned to do a piece on Davy Jones´ Locker, which would fit best. Anyways, this would require much more research and – frankly – I do not have too much own photographic material, so I decided to check if I could do another review. And here we are … “Ghost Ship”!
This is a 2002 Horror movie, rated R or – in my country – suitable for persons of 18 years of age minimum. It is not all too gory (we´ve seen much, much worse), “strong language” of 2002 has in my point of view long been outrun by even stronger language since. Also, “nudity” is a joke, you literally see one breast for a split-second. Well, I´ve just seen it and it may have shocked 20 years ago but at today´s benchmarks the movie is a “funny B-Movie classic for a short-whiled goosebump-video night”. This to name first: I can recommend this movie if you want to see a film that starts actually quite good and somehow derails along the way, turning into a very pity mess. But first things first.
A wonderful setting and brilliant start …
A hard-boiled crew of a freelance offshore salvage vessel gets hired by a stranger who claims to have accicdentally found a drifting hull of a big ship. Reaching the vessel it turns out that the ship is named ANTONIA GRAZA, a passenger liner of the Golden Era of the Sixties which mysteriously vanished without a trace. A reminder of the famous MARY CELESTE-myth is drawn and the setting is finished. In this, both the writers, the director, the actors and even the production designers did a wonderful job, I´d say. It is fun to watch, character layout is coherent and believable.
I love the sets, beautiful, big practical sets of the rotten, half sunk ocean liner, although the enervating and physically totally unnatural flickering of water in the otherwise light-less dark ship is a cheap effect. Nevertheless, the crew´s journey to find ANTONIA GRAZA and the slow paced build-up of the story, with small “signs” that something wasn´t right here and there are a really quite good made piece of filming. But then, somehow, the movie goes down. Very quickly.
… climaxed into a cheesy B-Movie.
It seemed to me as if the studio had fired one director and hired another guy. He then had a totally different film in mind, changed the pacing completely and what seemed to have been executed quite right suddenly turned into a cinematic mess. Really, I was shocked – not by the gory inserts or horror-elements – but merely by the totally linear, foreseeable and in this absolutely un-shocking storyline. The characters began acting stupid, doing completely stupid things (bear in mind that this is a professional ocean salvage crew), ignoring basic safety standards, behaving irrational and childish. Worth watching indeed …
The climax is so boring and the solution so cheap that I used the +10 seconds-buttons frequently to fast forward the movie to its end. The end, however, is extremely cheesy, kind of taking a bit from “Alien” but destroying the subtle and clever open end (with an open door for a sequel) obverting it into one of the cheapest movie endings I remember. Although it is not as disappointing as the long awaited Crowhurst movie “The Mercy”, you easily have a fun time watching it if nothing else is on. Now, why haven´t I chosen a better movie, you may ask? Well, I don´t believe in such things as “666” and this overly ambitious failure, in my eyes, proves exactly my point.
My assessment for “Ghost Ship” is 1 of 10 points
Pictures and stills © Copyright by Village Roadshow Pictures
You may also like to read reviews of these movies:
Review of “The Terror” – absolutely great entertainment
“Adrift”, a quite entertaining sailing film
Now this is what I call a pirate-series! “Black Sails” is great