Ghost Ship – Blu-ray review
Director: Steve Beck
Stars: Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
The movie most know only for its opening scene and the great wire kill in it. God knows that’s all I remember from this one, but then I haven’t seen it in nearly 20 years. I love the idea of haunted ships, and even B-grade efforts like Death Ship find room in my cold, dead heart. So how was this re-watch? Was it a cruise of delight, or was the movie still all wet? Well, book your passage, bring some water wings just in case, and let’s find out.
Here a salvage ship, captained by the always awesome Gabriel Byrne, comes across a huge abandoned ocean liner from the 1960s just floating along, and they think they hit the jackpot. However, once they board the vessel to begin their plunder, strange things start happening, leading to lots of death and a deeper mystery that needs to be solved. You know, your basic haunted house movie set on the high seas.
This film has a healthy dose of cheese and camp, but I am neither lactose intolerant nor too serious of a cinema fan to enjoy both. The acting is hit and miss, with Gabriel have fun chewing the scenery as the unhinged captain, ER‘s Julianna Margulies doing a good job as our plucky leading lady, and the always awesome Karl Urban in a far too small role for him. Seriously, after Dredd and now The Boys (and more) he can do no wrong with me. The direction by Steve Beck is passable. This was his last time in the big chair, but it was a better effort than his previous (and first) attempt at directing, Thir13en Ghosts. Perhaps the best thing about this movie are the kills and gore effects. Of course there is the awesome start to the film that still gets me laughing, but there are several other memorable murderous moments as well.
Let’s get to those ghostly extras that Scream Factory has put on this new Blu-ray release. First and foremost, there is a director’s commentary with Steve Beck, and I always love those. Then there are three interviews with actor Isaiah Washington, makeup effects supervisor Jason Bird, and producer Gil Adler. Next there are five featurettes: an on-set visit, one on the visual effects, another on the gore effects, a closer look at designing the titular ghost ship, and the last one is all about the secrets of said ship. Then there is a music video for nu-metal band Mudvayne and their song “Not Falling,” which was used for the end credits. Last but not least, there is the ever-humble trailer. So unlike a lot of recent releases, Scream Factory always and still delivers the goods when it comes to extras.
Ghost Ship is a lot more fun and enjoyable than I remember it. It will never win any awards for story or actual frights, but if you are looking for some haunted house but set on a boat shenanigans, with some better than expected moments from some of the cast and all of the effects people, this movie will do that for you. Consider it recommended.