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HTF REVIEW: "Ghost Ship" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 49 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 13 2003 - 08:36 PM

Posted Image

Ghost Ship

Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2002
Rated: R
Film Length: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

Sea Evil

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
few years.

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
Ghost Gyp.

Posted Image

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.

Posted Image

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.

Posted Image

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
"A" titles?

Posted Image

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?

Posted Image

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.

Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image
Posted Image

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
films, okay?

Posted Image

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.

Posted Image

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
related pictures/wallpaper/screensavers.

Final Thoughts

Posted Image

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
this ship.

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


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 49 OFFLINE   Michael Dueppen

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Posted March 13 2003 - 08:46 PM

Thanks for this very entertaining review, Ron. Sorry, that you had to sit through this stinker. I'll definitely stay away from this one even as a rental.
- Michael
My DVD collection

#3 of 49 OFFLINE   LennyP


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Posted March 13 2003 - 08:51 PM

This one was definetly fun, especially the middle revelation montage set to some groovy music, and the ending. I liked it and will get a DVD for archives. Posted Image
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#4 of 49 OFFLINE   Bill_D


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Posted March 13 2003 - 09:06 PM

[quote] Stay Off This Boat! [quote]


#5 of 49 OFFLINE   Andy Olivera

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Posted March 13 2003 - 09:59 PM

You always have to rip my "must buy"'s to shreds, don't you?Posted Image

Oh, well. As with Thir13en Ghosts and FearDotCom I'm sure the cool visuals and awesome soundtrack will make it worth my money. No commentary this time, though? Too bad, as I rather enjoyed the others.

BTW, we need films like these, and not just near Halloween! You know, horror films that take themselves seriously. Why? Because, as opposed to the old 80s variety, the new ones always look and sound good and, more importantly, every once in a while you get one that works!Posted Image

Good review...Posted Image
"It is not, and never should be, the policy of the law to require the protection of the foolhardy or reckless few and therefore to deprive, or interfere with, the enjoyment by the remainder of society of the liberties and amenities to which they are rightly entitled." -unknown

#6 of 49 OFFLINE   Chuck L

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Posted March 14 2003 - 12:09 AM

Good review, but I will be getting it anyway Ron. I rather enjoyed the film was pleased by most of the effects in the film and honestly, I was rather shocked that they got by with what they did. It is a fun film, not one to explore new ground or even creat new ground, but more entertaining to me than any Julia Roberts love fest...:b

#7 of 49 OFFLINE   Jordan_E



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Posted March 14 2003 - 01:07 AM

I'm a sucker for these movies and will give this one a rental. Hell, I sat through FearDotCom!
And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

#8 of 49 OFFLINE   Will K

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Posted March 14 2003 - 01:35 AM

Nice review as usual, Ron. While I can't exactly call it a good movie, I enjoyed it a time-killer and that wildly gruesome opening scene.
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#9 of 49 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted March 14 2003 - 02:05 AM

I'm with Will K and the others. Definitely not high art, but I was entertained and the opening scene alone may be worth the cost. Plus, I'm a sucker for these Dark Castle flicks. :b Definite buy for me.
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#10 of 49 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted March 14 2003 - 02:09 AM

Stick with John Carpenter's evergreen, atmospheric comic-horror masterpiece, The Fog, says I. Posted Image


#11 of 49 OFFLINE   Nick Graham

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Posted March 14 2003 - 03:47 AM

As a huge fan of horror films, I can safely say there are potentially hundreds of horror movies on DVD WAAAAAAAY more deserving of your money than this turd. Rent it for the money shot opening, then take it back to Hollywood and get your free $1 credit on your next rental.

#12 of 49 OFFLINE   Brian Kleinke

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Posted March 14 2003 - 05:34 AM

Nice review Ron... it matches what Peter Bracke says over at DVDfile. Posted Image

He opend his review with:

[quote] Boy, does this movie suck. Ghost Ship is so bad in every conceivable way that I could only sit there dumbfounded, hoping and praying to find something - anything - to hold my interest. [quote]

Posted Image

#13 of 49 OFFLINE   Eric Huffstutler

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Posted March 14 2003 - 05:37 AM

Ron (and others),

Has anyone tried to compare this to the Canadian title Triangle which is another similar movie? I wasn't impressed with it but curious how they stand side-by-side?

#14 of 49 OFFLINE   Ron-P



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Posted March 14 2003 - 05:51 AM

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

Posted Image

Thanks Ron, I'll pass even renting.

Peace Out~Posted Image
You have all the weapons you need...Now fight!

#15 of 49 OFFLINE   Doug Schiller

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Posted March 14 2003 - 06:12 AM

No way am I passing up on this. As a big gore enthusiast, I'll definetly be Netflixing this movie. That first screenshot sold it! It is nice to see gore making a come back after the dreadful Fear.com garbage. Doug

#16 of 49 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted March 14 2003 - 07:00 AM

On a similar note, Below just came out and I'll pimp for it. Not much gore, but it looks great, has a real plot, and is genuinely creepy. There is no way it can be worse than this offal!

Thanks for the amusing offal. Sorry to plug another film, but I doubt you'll mind Posted Image

Take care,
Hey buddy...did you just see a real bright light?

#17 of 49 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted March 14 2003 - 08:39 AM

I'm confused. Ron...did you like the movie or not? Next time a little less ambiguity would be appreciated. Posted Image

Actually, I'm thankful for the advanced warning. I was leaning towards not even renting it, anyway. This clinches it.

#18 of 49 OFFLINE   LennyP


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Posted March 14 2003 - 09:11 AM

[quote] That first screenshot sold it! [quote]

Oh yeah, you'll be in a for cool surprise in that scene.
But after that there will be almost no gore at all.
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#19 of 49 OFFLINE   Joshua Moran

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Posted March 14 2003 - 09:53 AM

I don't understand why todays Horror films are some of the worst concepts and scripts to over be put on film. I liked them better when they tried to be scary instead of funny. They just seem like gross out comedies now.

#20 of 49 OFFLINE   Shawn_Sek


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Posted March 14 2003 - 10:55 AM

i saw this movie at the $1 theatre and i guess it was worth the buck. i LOVE the opening scene and it should go down as one of the all time best gore scenes ever. after that though, its just pretty much a bore. when i saw it at the theatre, the entire last reel was badly out of focus, ruining the ending unless you really really paid attention, but no one really seemed to mind, i guess they just wanted it to be over if they were even still awake. ill pass on this dvd, theres still too much amazing asian horror i need to buy.
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