HTF REVIEW: "Ghost Ship" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 13, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    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.


    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
    "A" titles?


    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.

    Special Features


    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?


    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
    related pictures/wallpaper/screensavers.

    Final Thoughts


    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
  2. Michael Dueppen

    Michael Dueppen Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 19, 2000
    Likes Received:
    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.
  3. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

    Jun 20, 2002
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    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. [​IMG]
  4. Bill_D

    Bill_D Supporting Actor

    Dec 10, 2001
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  5. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

    Jul 25, 2000
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    You always have to rip my "must buy"'s to shreds, don't you?[​IMG]

    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![​IMG]

    Good review...[​IMG]
  6. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

    Feb 12, 2001
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    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. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Jan 3, 2002
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    I'm a sucker for these movies and will give this one a rental. Hell, I sat through FearDotCom!
  8. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

    Feb 6, 2001
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    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.
  9. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

    Feb 8, 2002
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    Real Name:
    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.
  10. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Aug 3, 2002
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    Stick with John Carpenter's evergreen, atmospheric comic-horror masterpiece, The Fog, says I. [​IMG]

  11. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

    Oct 16, 2001
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    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. Brian Kleinke

    Brian Kleinke Supporting Actor

    Sep 9, 1999
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    Nice review Ron... it matches what Peter Bracke says over at DVDfile. [​IMG]

    He opend his review with:

  13. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

    Oct 2, 1999
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    Richmond, VA
    Real Name:
    Eric Huffstutler
    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. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    Real Name:
    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


    Thanks Ron, I'll pass even renting.

    Peace Out~[​IMG]
  15. Doug Schiller

    Doug Schiller Supporting Actor

    Dec 16, 1998
    Likes Received:
    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 garbage.

  16. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Aug 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    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 [​IMG]

    Take care,
  17. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

    Mar 16, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I'm confused. Ron...did you like the movie or not? Next time a little less ambiguity would be appreciated. [​IMG]

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

    LennyP Supporting Actor

    Jun 20, 2002
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  19. Joshua Moran

    Joshua Moran Supporting Actor

    Apr 11, 2000
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    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. Shawn_Sek

    Shawn_Sek Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 2, 2003
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    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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