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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.49%
Worth A Look: 15.13%
Average: 6.72%
Pretty Bad: 26.89%
Total Crap32.77%

6 reviews, 83 user ratings

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Ghost Ship
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by Scott Weinberg

"Yes I understand: it's a SHIP with GHOSTS on it. Let's move on."
2 stars

I must admit that I was pretty excited to hear about the inception of 'Dark Castle Entertainment' a few years back. A joint effort between producers Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, and William Malone, this outfit promised sleek and slimy high-end horror fare for the "Tales from the Crypt" crowd. Three years later, the production company boasts a surprisingly sad record of 0 and 3.

The first offering from Dark Castle was a silly little guilty pleasure called The House on Haunted Hill. Remake of a popular old mini-classic and directed with a ham-fisted style by Malone (FearDotCom), this one blew its load in a clever prologue involving a runaway elevator. An interesting cast (Famke Janssen, Geoffrey Rush, Chris Kattan, Jeffrey Combs) and welcome sense of humor made a tired flick somewhat entertaining, though it's hardly "must see" fodder for the horror freak.

Next up was the blatantly non-sensical 13 Ghosts, yet another remake - and a movie nearly unwatchable in its ineptitude. First-time director Steve Beck hoped that a few flashy effects and swanky production design would camoflauge the stupidity; they don't. The ghost characters could have made this one a cult favorite, only they were essentially favor of Shannon Elizabeth and Matthew Lillard. Now that's just sad.

Beck gets a second shot with Ghost Ship, a movie that (much like its predecessors) opens with a gruesomely cool bang, offers a meager handful of colorfully nasty moments, and ends before the 90-minute mark. Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies are the ghost chasers this time out and instead of a haunted house - we get a boat. OK, I've been burned twice so far but I do love my cheeseball horror flicks, so Ghost Ship looked promising.

It's as if this Dark Castle crew are crawling before they can walk, which is fine...even if the process is taking longer than it should. I mean, is there ANY reason that a horror movie should have 45 consecutive minutes of 'slow hallway searches'?? I'm all for setting a mood and a creepy atmosphere, but there's no denying that the first two acts of this film are woefully dull.

Taken as a feature-length take on the adored Tales from the Crypt series, the Dark Castle flicks should certainly entertain fans of 'mainstream horror'. Each movie is loud and sloppy and stupid, but there's nothing really wrong with that. (I know from experience that this type of horror movie is the favorite of 12-year-old film freaks the world over.) But each movie represents a whole lot of wasted potential.

There's an attempt here to bring an old-fashioned sense of 'creepy atmosphere' to these movies, and that's certainly to be commended, but here's a tip: Hire better screenwriters! The dialogue in a Ghost Ship need not be William Faulkner, but how difficult is it to pen interesting dialogue? There's only so many ways to explain that you're about to go wandering down a dank, wet hallway, so stop straining yourself.

It should be mentioned that the set design and interiors of the haunted vessel are more than effectively creepy and moodily lit. So I just did.

Gabriel Byrne earns a nice paycheck, seeming bored as a salvage crew captain. Margulies simply isn't a very convincing actress, and let's just leave it at that. (Pretty hair, though.) The supporting cast is a collection of Eldards and Isaiahs, each one doomed to a pitifully underwhelming demise. None of the characters are even remotely interesting, so when their death scenes are equally as bland...horror fans get annoyed.

To those hardcore gore freaks, here's what I can offer: a very very cool prologue that I won't spoil by telling you how sloppily nasty is truly is, but it's damn good. Late in the film there's also a rather well-conceived 'backstory montage' that actually got me to like what I was seeing. The body count (prologue aside) is distressingly low, and the 'kill shots' (though clever in conception) are drab in execution.

Of the three Dark Castle flicks we've seen so far, two are 'passable for horror fans' and one's 'just awful'. (Decide for yourself which are which.) Here's hoping that the Castle guys learn a way to stretch their 30-minute premises into a feature-length film. The best parts from these three flicks would make one damn serviceable little horror movie, so the potential is clearly there.

The DVD offers a quartet of intermittently informative EPK featurettes: Visual FX, Max on Set: Ghost Ship, Designing Ghost Ship and (my favorite) A Closer Look at the Gore. There's also a click-heavy annoyance (Secrets of the Anotnio Graza) that offers four brief 'backstories' from the film, the original theatrical trailer, cast/crew filmographies and a Mudvayne music video.

Update: Dark Castle's fourth movie was "Gothika" - easily their worst so far. Next up is a remake of "House of Wax". Keep your fingers crossed.

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originally posted: 05/01/04 21:35:27
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell 2 much gore and effects not enough scares 2 stars
4/08/16 David Hollingsworth Just watch that great opening and the skip the rest. 1 stars
2/27/11 Pamela White typical horror film with no follow through good FX 2 stars
11/12/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess The special F/X is great, btu that's really about it 2 stars
5/23/10 MAJ D FOR HORROR FANS: inventive, interesting setting, characters, great visuals, atmospheric 5 stars
9/08/08 Sean Holland A freaky story and Gore, what else could you want 5 stars
8/15/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! Kept me on the edge of my seat 5 stars
10/29/07 hank3395 hope ther is a sequel!! 4 stars
1/24/07 Matt Interesting premise, but a messy film. Could have, should have, been a great deal better. 3 stars
10/11/06 Pritchett Absolute garbage, not scary, not fun, cliched-as-hell...a total waste of time. 1 stars
5/29/06 Anthony Feor AVOID 1 stars
5/07/06 chienne My 12yo loves it, it's alright - but not a fave 3 stars
3/24/06 Indrid Cold Weak, pointless story. The Mudvayne song is the best thing about this stinker. 2 stars
11/25/05 cr a gory movie and cool story, pretty freaky overall pretty crappy 2 stars
11/21/05 chris not bad 4 stars
11/05/05 Jessica Fortier suspenceful from begining to end! great story line. i loved the bizzar twists 5 stars
11/04/05 Alice C'mon, it wasn't THAT bad. The acting was okay, and some scenes were enjoyable. 4 stars
10/30/05 chris very god movie worth wacthing 4 stars
7/29/05 Chris Waring This film is definately worth watching once, if only to see how crap it is. 2 stars
6/23/05 Mike Hunt quite gory 4 stars
3/24/05 Alice Colwell not all that bad 3 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams I've seen better movies on the Hallmark channel 2 stars
12/03/04 Nari S. Ramzan The begining gore wasn't nessesary but the plot and villian make it worthwhile. 4 stars
11/08/04 Steve Newman very harsh ratings so far (perhaps I am 40 going on 12!!) 4 stars
10/15/04 Don Eckert A great start with a laughable ending and lots of bad acting in between. 1 stars
10/13/04 teshey I Think its so cool i love it 5 stars
9/04/04 Valerie Very intense, but I liked it! Definetly worth a look! 4 stars
5/29/04 Kura Totally funny... So boring >_< 1 stars
5/05/04 Ken I didn't even think the opening was all that great. 1 stars
5/04/04 Joseph Cicala not too shabby 3 stars
5/02/04 Jack Sommersby Slickly produced, totally inept garbage. 1 stars
3/22/04 trent i personaly loved the movie the biggining took me a year to get over and the rest good 4 stars
3/02/04 Whatevr I could get better entertainment by crapping in a VCR 1 stars
3/02/04 Charles Tatum Bloody average 3 stars
12/10/03 Terry A good film with, A 'Final Destination' type deaths at the beginning... 5 stars
11/11/03 HorrorScribbler About as tightly plotted as your slightly below average Love Boat episode. 3 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess A step up from 13 Ghosts, contains some good gore, but is on the bland side. 2 stars
11/01/03 Lars Kelsen Conventional spook show, but touts a truly disturbing opening scene. 4 stars
10/08/03 Erik Van Sant Dark Castle is on a roll with shitty William-Castle rip-offs. The opening is woth a look. 1 stars
9/29/03 Eloise only thing scary was the weak acting and lame transparent plot. Go see Dog Soldiers instead 1 stars
9/16/03 snowconehead Horrid plot development. Steretypical bullshit with one decent flashback scene 2 stars
9/07/03 Kitty J. Blues Only good part was the ending 2 stars
7/29/03 jekyl wheres Hyde 5 stars
7/14/03 Samuel Justus Fantastic Ending!! Great horror flick!!! 5 stars
7/05/03 Hydref Stupid name, brilliant story 5 stars
6/24/03 sarah boswell it will never be the ring...but it was a really good story 5 stars
6/22/03 may one of the best scary movies of 2002 5 stars
6/20/03 Sammy Gory for no reason and pretty overused premise 1 stars
6/14/03 Ashley Corpening Promising start succumbs to muddled free-for-all. GHOST SHIT would be more like it. 1 stars
6/12/03 Epps This movie kicked ass, some people has issues. 5 stars
6/05/03 Erik Van Sant 'Ghost Shit' is the reason I hesitate to watch horror movies in the theater. Horrible. 1 stars
5/31/03 xXMrSelfDestructXx This movie isnt as bad as all of you make it out to be! 5 stars
5/28/03 Caitlyn It was awesome possum.... Desmund Harrington was so cool, not to mention cute! 5 stars
5/27/03 Jack Sommersby Not an iota of ingenuity, not a scare to be found. A complete disaster. 1 stars
5/25/03 1movie fan this was the greatest horror film ever made. if you didn't like this movie your an asshole 5 stars
5/24/03 Chanelle Watson I Liked Katie 5 stars
4/12/03 Jack Bourbon NO MORE FOOD TURNING INTO MAGGOTS!!! It reminds me of my refrigerator! 2 stars
4/06/03 Dodge This Film is Great what are you people on?However what happened to Dodge? How'd he die? 5 stars
4/06/03 Jessel After a decent opening with great visuals, quickly went to sucking all ass. 1 stars
3/26/03 HE great 5 stars
2/07/03 Sean Hansford the killings are amazing 5 stars
1/13/03 Petitbreton As awful and boring as 13 Ghosts 1 stars
1/03/03 Ashley Corpening Promising start succumbs to muddled free-for-all. GHOST SHIT would be more like it. 1 stars
1/01/03 The Collector "ER" + "LOST VOYAGE" + NUT-FILLED TURDS = "GHOST SHIP" 1 stars
12/17/02 n a the movie sucked ass i hated it fuck off ghost ship 1 stars
11/17/02 Lexie I liked this movie, I don't know what you people are talking about 4 stars
11/15/02 JackG No imagination went into this film. The producers are embarrased and the actors are suing. 1 stars
11/10/02 john sucks cod 1 stars
11/07/02 N/A Best Movie Ever! 5 stars
11/03/02 Chris I was hoping for more of a ghost story than a supernatural killer on the loose story 2 stars
11/03/02 CaRlY n' JaKiE We ThOuGhT iT wAs AwEsOmE eVeRy 1 ElZ iS oN cRaCk!!!!! 5 stars
11/02/02 MaryAnn Wells I loved this movie. The special effects are great and scary, the acting very well done. 5 stars
11/02/02 beatriz can we have a real scary movie now?....dont watch it! 1 stars
10/30/02 Molly I laughed all the way through it. Soooo predictable!! 1 stars
10/29/02 John McNew A tedious, but technically well-made, mishmash of old ideas 2 stars
10/29/02 Human Shield If they could have maintained the viciousness of the starting, it could have been great. 2 stars
10/28/02 anyone know the name of the group/song which was playing during the cable scene? 3 stars
10/28/02 Joe Castillo It was great, one of the best movies of the year... if I had a zero IQ 1 stars
10/28/02 Shitmeister Well, it was better than having an enema...but not by much. 1 stars
10/27/02 STEVE um.....better then i thought.although dark castle has failed so far..... 3 stars
10/26/02 Uncle Salty Hey look, it's resident evil! In the ocean! On a boat! And retarded! 1 stars
10/26/02 Steve McLenithan Worst movie I've seen in a long time. Bad story line, bad ending, disgusting! 1 stars
10/26/02 Joseph James It's probably a movie I would have rented except for the fact that I got in for free 4 stars
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  25-Oct-2002 (R)



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