Ghost Ship Movie Review
I should say first that I don't tend to watch a lot of horror movies. I tend to get nightmares about the movies for months afterwards :) However, I have seen most of the "classics" like The Shining and The Exorcist. I've seen Ghost Ship several times because I enjoy cruise ships and this horror show takes place on a cruise ship that's been floating around for 40 years. Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies star as the 2 main leaders on a salvage ship that comes across her and wants to loot her.
I like the fact that they have a strong female character in the mix; I certainly do know a number of female sailors and soldiers. However, all of the characters seem very stereotyped, and you never really connect with any of them. The female, of course, is the tough-but-tender one who hooks up with the little girl ghost. The other characters each have a "characteristic". You don't really care about any of them, except maybe the little girl.
I realize you can't necessarily expect a lot out of the plot or dialogue of a horror movie - but really, I have seen some quite good ones. The lines in this movie ranged from cliche to simply silly. "Don't go in there" - and of course she does.
Normally what bothers me about horror movies is the ton of gore, and the brooding dark that the "scary things" jump out from. I was very surprised to find neither present here. First, the movie is perpetually light. There are cool wavy water-light sets which I enjoyed from a visual sense, but it wasn't scary. All of the deaths were very telegraphed. You knew long before the actual "slicing" in the first scene exactly what was going to happen. When it did, it was cool in a Matrix-like fashion, but very silly in any sort of realistic sense. Even if we assume that this metal cable was somehow razor-sharp and could make a really clean cut, the bodies wouldn't all "hover" there intact. To start with that unbelievable scene sort of set the stage for future problems.
I liked the idea that the too-punchy crew was beginning to stress out and imagine things, turn on each other and not trust in their own realities. However, things like blood filling up the swimming pool made it slide from "psychological horror" to "cheap not-scary visuals". The floating dead bodies was another you-must-be-kidding moment - surely any bodies would be disintegrated beyond recognition. As soon as the 2 guys began eating the old food I knew a "Lost Boys" scene was coming up - and of course it did.
I liked how the little girl seemed real to Maureen - was she real, was she a hallucination? I liked how the ghosts were not floating white sheet creatures, but were simply "real people" that were not quite alive. After all, a ghost is simply a dead person. A ghost probably thinks of himself as a person and might not even accept that he or she is dead. I also liked the room reforming scene when Greer finds himself in the cruise ship's hey-day.
I guess what I'm saying is that the movie wasn't *completely* awful. There were things that I could enjoy in it. I don't even mind the ghost-supernatural part. However, the bad plot, bad dialogue, bad acting, bad characters and general cheeziness really did affect how much I could enjoy it. They obviously had good actors and actresses in some of these parts, and the special effects team showed that they were capable of doing a good job at what they were told to do. Maybe if they had a better script - i.e. with great characters, plot and dialogue - then the rest would have come together naturally. I guess we'll never know.
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