‘Ghost Ship’ lacks cinematic sea elements

By on November 14, 2002

What do you get when you cross a “slasher flick” with a plot that combines the predictable melodrama of “The Perfect Storm” and “Titanic?”
The horribly predictable new film, “Ghost Ship,” released just in time for Halloween, is directed by none other than the “Thirteen Ghosts” helmsman Steve Beck.
Julianna Margulies and Gabriel Byrne star as salvagers who travel the open sea with a group of three in search of riches. They encounter more than they bargained for when they stumble upon a 1962 Italian ocean-liner, the “Antonia Graza.”
The bounty hunting effort is spearheaded by Captain Sean Murphy, played by Byrne (“End of Days”), while a new player is introduced when Canadian Air Force pilot Jack Ferriman, played by Desmond Harrington (“Riding in Cars With Boys”), approaches the group with an interesting proposition.
Ferriman has a set of aerial photographs of a missing ship he spotted somewhere in the Bering Sea, and will only share the information if he can get a share of the riches contained on the ship.
The crew, who let the mysterious pilot come along on their expedition, thinks they have struck it rich when they see the massive “Antonia Graza.”
The film features supporting actors Isaiah Washington, Ron Eldard, Karl Urban and Alex Dimitriades. As the group travels toward their pirate destination, the movie becomes a direct throwback of “The Perfect Storm,” right down to the lame attempts at rough, out-to-sea camera work.
All director Steve Beck ends up with as a final edit is an all too familiar sound stage image of the crew on the boat with a still background, not an actual floating scene.
Seafaring director Wolfgang Peterson, behind “Perfect Storm” and “The Hunt for Red October,” should have offered some pointers to the amateurish Beck.
After reaching their destination of the “Antonia Graza,” the crew disbands to explore the ship, which once held up to 600 passengers and 500 crew members. No survivors are found, and the lifeboats and lifejackets are missing.
The dynamic crew find themselves fighting for their lives while searching for treasure on the Antonia Graza, which starts to sink from a hole in the rusty metal, along with the movie’s plot.
A mysterious young girl named Katie (Emily Browning), a ghost from the desolate cruise ship, appears to Maureen Epps (Margulies) and haunts her throughout the film. Her eerie sightings lead her crew mates to wonder if she’s lost her mind, since they can’t see the ghost themselves.
Young Katie helps tell the story of the ghost ship and how it became abandoned, and she plays one of the better supporting roles.
The end of the film comes way too quickly, as the ghosts continue to haunt the crew and find new ways to kill members.
These death scenes contain more than enough blood and gore and are certainly not for the faint of heart.
The plot twists when Jack turns on Maureen, but she fights back in true Lara Croft-fashion.
“Ghost Ship” challenges the idea that the good guys always win, but movie-goers are forced to question who is on the good side.
Sit through this movie and resist the temptation to “jump the ship,” because the ending will justify your reasons for sitting in boredom for the past 88 minutes.


About Allison Corneau