Studio: Warner Brothers
Film Length: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
Okay, folks, it's time to take the HTF REVIEW QUIZ....
Question: What is more worthy of your time
than watching Ghost Ship?
A). Banging your head against the refrigerator door
B). Starting your own toe-nail collection
C). Watching a DVD copy of Zardoz
D). All of the above
If you answered All of the above, then you
certainly have a better reason to stray as far away
as you can from perhaps the worst horror movie I
have had the displeasure to watch over the last
You would think that with a team of producers like
Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) and Robert
Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Contact), Ghost Ship
would offer the ultimate in onboard chills and thrills.
Unfortunately, after you get past the film's devilishly
gory opening set-piece, you find that the rest of the
film quickly capsizes under its own weight. This film
is so utterly bad that the film should have been called
The film centers on the crew of a salvage ship in
the Bering Sea. Murphy (Gabriel Byrne), is a loyal
and dedicated Captain who is a sort of father figure
to the crew of his ship, especially to it's only
female crew member, Epps (Julianna Margulies). While
relaxing after a successful salvage effort, the crew
is propositioned to investigate a mysterious but
large ship by a pilot who claims he has recently
seen the ship. For a percentage of the bounty, the
pilot provides the crew with what he knows and asks
that he tag along on the effort to locate the ship.
The crew eventually finds the ship on their radar,
and upon arriving at the location, they discover it
to be the Antonia Graza, an Italian luxury liner
that has been missing for nearly forty years. They
board the derelict and find it abandoned, but soon
come upon a treasure chest filled with opportunities
that motivate them to repair the ship in order to
tow it back to port.
Soon enough strange and tragic occurrences start to
befall the crew. It seems that the ghosts left aboard
have dead and unfinished business and its up to the
crew to find out what's happening before they are
ultimately picked off one by one.
Remarkably, the cast is full of good and interesting
actors who desperately try to breathe life into
their walking and talking cliches. Alas, the efforts
are wasted on this huge incoherent bore.
How is the transfer?
You really have to hand it to Warner Brothers for
taking a film like this and making it look so good.
Would you expect anything less from a studio that
consistently delivers first-rate transfers on its
It doesn't take you long to realize just how gorgeous
this transfer is. Check out the film's opening moments
as the camera sweeps along the open sea. It's a
totally breathtaking shot that is well textured and
enhanced with vivid deep red cast titles. Everything
about this transfer is letter perfect -- from images
that are razor sharp to colors that are exceptionally
balanced. What more can I say?
The film's 5.1 Dolby Digital track is as impressive
as the transfer. Good or bad, a horror film must
rely on an exceptional sound mix. Audiences should
be able to close their eyes and feel equally chilled
by the eerie sounds that surround them. Fortunately,
this mix encircles the viewer with all sorts of
directional effects from dripping water and clanging
noises to the stormy weather elements. The score
is also divided amongst the front and rears, though
it mostly stays front-heavy. Audio come across with
superb dynamic range and strong LFE response that
had my subwoofer working a little harder than usual.
How do you sell a bad movie to the public? You
put this really neat lenticular cover on the package
that will probably attract every person that walks
in its path. Nice gimmick, but save it for the good
Max on set: Ghost Ship is the usual promotional
fare that puts the camera on the entire cast and lets
them talk about their characters and how friggin' scary
the film is. We do get to see a lot of behind-the-
camera activity, but unfortunately it is overshadowed
with clip after clip from the film. Perhaps the
scariest thing brought out in this featurette is
Producer Joel Silver exclaiming that he wants to make
more of these kind of pictures every Halloween.
(length: approx. 15 minutes)
I had a bit of a time figuring out Secrets of
the Antonia Graza which presents you with a
cubic puzzle that you must solve in order to access
four individual clips that give you never-before-seen
footage. The first piece of footage shows how the
villains plotted to take over the boat. The second
clip is a sort of backstory of Francesca, the Italian
singer. The third clip shows a collection of the
little girl Katie's paintings. The fourth clip is
a radio broadcast of a previous group killed on the
ship. Honestly folks, this was too much work clicking
around the puzzle to make the material worth my time.
Visual FX is a rather short piece that takes
us to Photon VFX as we look at the building of the
film's miniatures and the many CGI and composite
shots that were done for the film.
(length: approx. 5.5 minutes)
A closer look at the Gore doesn't exactly
pay tribute to the man that won the popular vote
of the last election -- but rather -- the combined
efforts of JNB and KNB the effects team who came
together to produce all the blood-splattering work
that you see in the film.
(length: approx. 5 minutes)
Designing the Ghost Ship is a short featurette
filled with original conceptual drawings of the
Antonia Graza and a look at the sets that were inspired
by them. It's interesting to note that the Antonia
Graza was designed after an actual doomed ocean liner
called the Andrea Dora.
(length: approx. 5 minutes)
Rounding out the extras is a music video for
Mudvayne's Not Falling; a cast and crew
filmography; and the film's original theatrical
DVD-ROM content consists mainly of website
content where you can download all sorts of Ghost
Ship related pictures/wallpaper/screensavers.
After learning that Ghost Ship came from the
same director who gave us Thirteen Ghosts, I
can certainly understand why this film genuinely
stinks. In fact, knowing that this director may
yet have yet another one of these "Halloween" horror
films up his sleeve makes me wish he went down with
Stay Off This Boat!
Release Date: March 28, 2003
All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality