Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship or as I like to call it GHHHOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSTTTT SHIP is the perfect movie to watch on mothers day because, erm ah… oooh. OK by no stretch of the imagination can I find a reason for Ghost Ship being a good film to watch on Mother’s Day. What I’ve got to have a theme post for every freaking holiday now?

In all fairness I can’t think of any time that would be a good time to watch GHOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSTTTTT SHIP a film that desperately makes one wish that Mystery Science Theater was still around.

The Ghost Ship in question is the rotting hulk of a cruise liner that Captain Gabriel Byrne and his merry salvage crew decide to… well salvage. Things soon change when they find that this is no ordinary shift but a GHOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSTTTT Ship. Filled with GHOOOOOOOOOSSSSSTTTT Pirates.

Things soon change again when they discover that not only are there GHOOOOOOSSSSTTT Pirates on the ship there’s also Gold! Yes Ghost Ship boasts a mystery and a back story that I can only describe as singularly convoluted, given that a ship full of Ghosts was judged as not being particularly interesting. Involving, as far as I can tell, Pirates, Gangsterism, and a demonic guy who likes killing random ship fulls of people so he can take them to hell. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t orthodox theology.
This all climaxes in a wildly out of place heist/massacre which plays nothing so much like Guy Ritchie’s version of the Sturmabteilung massacre in The Damned.

I can’t help but wonder how such an extraneous plotline got stapled to the movie. I can only imagine it went something like this.

Studio Exec 1: I just got the latest draft of Ghost Ship in. It’s going to be boffo, there’s a ship there’s Ghosts. People get on the ship, they don’t get off. It will be tremendous. 

Studio Exec 2: I don’t know I still think we’re missing something. Let’s have the writer and go back and do a draft with Gangsters in it.

Studio Exec 1: What kind of Gangsters?

Studio Exec 2: Demon Gangsters!

Anyway Ghost Ship is basically your average haunted house story with Scuba scenes, albietly a spectacularly poorly paced one (it’s nearly fifty minutes into the movie before anything ghostly happens, the A for effort grislyness of its opening notwithstanding). Emily Browning stands around looking creepy in a party dress, a lot of imagery is recycled, a swimming pool fills with blood.

The cast is bored. Karl Urban, usually seen killing Orcs and fighting Jason Bourne seems to have based his character on Stephen Fetchit routines and mostly runs around bug eyed and screaming. When Captain Gabriel Byrne is finally allowed to die you can sense his happiness. Rarely has a man being drowned by angry ghosts seemed so distinctly relieved.

Still for all of its various bits of incompetence I can’t help but have a small sliver of affection in my coal black heart for GHOOOOOOOOOSSSSSTTT SHIP. It’s an anachronism. A through back to a kinder gentler time when a ship full of damned souls  tormenting people in the isolation of the ocean was considered scary. It could have been made by William Castle. Though he would have had the good sense to save the spectacular high tension wire scene for the end. 


le0pard13 said...

As usual, a really entertaining look at this one, Bryce. You may not be aware, but this one was that rarest of animals: a movie remake of a bad film (someone finally listened to George Carlin), Death Ship. Though to be fair, the original 1980 Alvin Rakoff feature film remains a better creepy work. In fact, I'd re-watch it again in a heartbeat before Ghost Ship. Unfortunately, it's only available as a Region 2 UK DVD. They even re-did the poster's design. Your post is tempting me to perhaps pick up that disc as its loaded with extras. Thanks.

Peter Lenihan said...

The Ghost Ship, on the other hand, is actually pretty great.

Jasper L'Estrange said...

Yeah, I hated "Ghost Ship". Gabriel Byrne was awful in this movie. And while the high tension wire scene was well-realised I always thought it was out of keeping with the rest of the film.

For a genuine creepy movie set on a ship try Christopher Smith's 2009 "Triangle". It's a real oddity in that it goes completely bonkers in the middle act and you start to think it's not very good, but is saved by a brilliant last 20 minutes that makes you realise you were wrong. I think.

Anyway, good review of a genuinely bad movie. Keep up the sterling work.

Budd said...

that scene were everyone is cut in half was pretty good.

Bryce Wilson said...

@ le0pard13: Thanks for the heads up Le0pard it'd be interesting to try and track it down.

@ Very true. Good to see you back at Peter it's been too long! Now if you'll excuse me I need to go read your backlog.

@ Duckers: Man that thing has been getting recommended to me left and right. I guess I better go see it.

@ Budd: Indeed.

Neil Fulwood said...

"... a wildly out of place heist/massacre which plays nothing so much like Guy Ritchie’s version of the Sturmabteilung massacre in The Damned."

Me and the ghost of Dirk Bogarde are pissing ourselves laughing at that one.

Bryce Wilson said...

Many thanks sir.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or does Gabriel Byrne have a constant look of dumbfoundedness in ALL of his movies?

Talk about an epically awesome beginning only to devolve into complete and utter shit.

Bryce Wilson said...

Oh dude I know you didn't just insult Miller's Crossing ; )