Floating Haunted House
Ghost Ship
Review by Ross Anthony

This is a good old-fashioned Halloween flick utilizing an abandoned (or is it?) ocean liner as its floating Haunted Castle. This ship of ghosts terrorizes our likable crew of scavengers with hanging skeletons, creaky doors, bleeding walls, Ghost Shipdeadly dead bolts, and a spoonful of maggots for lunch. If these are your expectations going in, you won't be disappointed. While fairly scarily fun, the film's plot points and ultimate summation barely hold water.

That said, the film does many things well. A whimsical orchestration and melody forges a wonderful carefree mood enjoyed by dancers aboard a cruise ship back in 1962. This ambiance is crafted artfully in only a few minutes of screen time; then in a snap, the horror cuts that scene in half. Very impressive, unfortunately, they spend a little too much time reprising it later.

Done well also, the eclectic soundtrack (heavy metal to hiphop), acting, fun real dialogue (save for some exposition by the scavenge skipper early on), and a cruise-comfortable pace.

Except for one brief and tame nude scene and the aforementioned opening slashing, this is really a PG-13 fun-scare.

As my good friend Greg Solman from Film Comment Mag points out, that nude scene may have cost the picture 4 more years worth of eligible audience. I'm thinking they may have included it just to get the R rating as not to lose the 20's crowd.

Overall, I had fun and would have given the picture a "B+" rating, but the less than boyant climax pulled that rating under.

  • Ghost Ship. Copyright © 2002. Rated R.
  • Starring Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Gabriel Byrne.
  • Directed by Steve Beck.
  • Screenplay by Mark Hanlon and Jong Pogue.
  • Produced by Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, Gilbert Adler at Village Roadshow/Warner Bros.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:09:57 PDT