Thursday, June 27, 2013

Movie #196: Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship is a horror movie about, no real surprise, a ghost ship, starring Gabriel Byrne, Isaiah Washington, Juliana Marguiles, Karl Urban, Desmond Harrington, and Emily Browning.

The Arctic Warrior is a salvage ship captained by Murphy (Byrne) and crewed by Epps (Marguiles), Greer (Washington), Munder (Urban), Dodge (Ron Eldard) and Santos (Alex Dimitriades). They've just hauled a ship back to port, when a weather surveyor named Ferryman (Harrington) approaches them, claiming to have found a ship adrift at sea. They go to investigate, and discover it's a huge Italian cruise liner, lost in the 60s with 1100 souls aboard. When the characters go aboard, however, they discover...those souls are still there! (Dramatic chord.)

So, actually, Ferryman is the bad guy (spoiler alert, right?) He's a "salvager of souls", here collecting a few more dead sinners to send a boatload home, and he just needs the crew to fix the ship. Back in the 60s, he brought a boatload of gold aboard, then waited for the crew to kill everyone stealing it, killed the few remaining conspirators (actually just the one, I think, the femme fatale played by Francesca Rettondini). But a little girl (Browning) who "died without sin" remains uncontrolled, and tries to warn Epps and company. It...doesn't go well.

I saw this movie in Atlanta when it opened because I got a free pass somehow, and actually I really like it. There's some gore to it, and it's not exactly high art, but it's a pretty effective horror movie in terms of isolation of the protagonists and convincing reasons to keep on keepin' on even after people die (that is, if we don't fix the boat we all gonna die). I think the exposition of Ferryman and his motives could have been handled a little more artfully (as it is, it's too late in the movie and it's just clumsy dialog), but he actually makes a pretty good villain, and Katie is nice ally for the characters. This movie is a game of Chill, because it's not quite bad enough to be a game of Slasher Flick.

Note: This movie's from Dark Castle, like House of Wax and Th13rteen Ghosts, and like those movies, has some fun extras and the DVD the provide a bit more context to the events in the film. I enjoy that. And I continue to wonder how they got the cast they did.

My grade: B+ (look, I like horror movies)
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Ghostbusters