Ghost Ship


Rating 3½

Directed by Steve Beck

Written by Mark Hanlon and John Pogue

Starring Gabriel Byrne, Desmond Harrington, Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington, Ron Eldard, Alex Dimitriades, Karl Urban, Francesca Rettondini and Emily Browning

Here comes another film that the critics and, it would seem, the majority of the online horror film fan community hate.

It seems to be the fate of most horror films to receive a critical booting from both professional film critics and the audience they are intended to appeal to. This is particularly true of those films given a PG13 rating (the ones Eli Roth dismissively said were made for “teenage girls”), but ‘Ghost Ship’ had an R rating in America and an 18 certificate in the UK. I’m not sure what warranted this rating, but we do get a fleeting glimpse of a bare breast. Such is the strange world we live in that a bare breast is deemed to have more potential to damage young minds than a hundred brutal and gory killings.

Roger Ebert wrote that the film is, “Better than you expect but not as good as you hope,” which is a reasonable assessment. It’s a bog-standard haunted house story, with all the expected clichés, except that it takes place on a ship. The characters, the misfit crew of a salvage tug, conform to the tried and tested stereotype previously established in films like ‘Alien’, ‘The Thing’ and ‘The Abyss’. Gabriel Byrne, playing an old salty been-there-seen-that seadog, heads up a cast that also includes Desmond Harrington (‘Wrong Turn’). It might not be very original, but it is fun and the 90 minutes running time passes by painlessly. The characters are likeable, or, at least, they are not dislikeable.

The film’s storyline was inspired by the true story of an Italian luxury liner called the SS Andrea Doria, which sank off the coast of Massachusetts in 1956 following a collision with another ship.


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