The Ghost Ship sinks

Nov. 11, 2002, midnight | By Zach Mellman | 21 years ago

Take the average Halloween season horror flick. Then remove suspense and characters deserving sympathy. Next add extra plot holes and set it all on a boat; now you've got Ghost Ship.

A Canadian Air Force pilot (Desmond Harrington) approaches a ragtag ship-salvaging crew (not a profession we can easily relate to) with word of a huge, abandoned vessel adrift on the Bering Sea. For some reason, this ship has yet to be discovered by anyone except by him, the first of many implausible plot elements. He joins the crew and they board their tugboat, the Arctic Warrior, to recover the vessel.

On seeing the ship, only Captain Sean Murphy (Gabrial Byrne) realizes that it is the famed Antonia Graza, which disappeared 40 years ago with no survivors on its voyage from Italy to America. Upon inspection, the crew sees that the ship has a gaping hole in its hull and may soon sink. Therefore the crew needs to work fast to salvage this "ghost ship" without too many of the old "doors getting latched behind them" tricks.

One would think that the rest of the crew would have heard of the Antonia Graza. One would wonder how it could have possibly ended up in the Bering Sea. Also, you certainly would wonder why the luxury liner has been afloat for 40 years with a massive hole in its hull without sinking earlier.

No horror movie could be complete without an innocent little girl with an English accent. In this case, the clichéd character is Katie(Emily Browning), a ghost who tries to help the crew. She is also the lone survivor and was depicted in the opening scene, in which a wire slices through dozens of dancers, killing everyone but her.

The viewer cannot sympathize with the individual characters because the film barely allows us to view them before the C-level actors are tricked into eating maggots and begin to watch blood disgorge from walls aboard this haunted ship.

Although mutilated corpses do not spew out from doors in The Shining or The Poltergeist, as they do in Ghost Ship, these are two of the best horror movies in history because of the abundance of suspense and solid plots. Perhaps Ghost Ship's director Steve Beck, who also directed Thirteen Ghosts and Rollerball, thought that seeing a woman getting slaughtered by a meat hook would make up for our lack of fearful anticipation.

In conclusion… see The Ring!

Official Site:

GHOST SHIP (88 minutes at area theatres) is rated R for strong violence, gore, language and sexuality

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Zach Mellman. Zach Mellman was born on October 18, 1956 (he was held back once or twice). He has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland his entire life. He is currently a senior at Blair enrolled in honors classes. He is also a member of Blair's golf team, … More »

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