Worth A Look: 15.13%
Pretty Bad: 26.89%
Total Crap: 32.77%
6 reviews, 83 user ratings
by Collin Souter
Last week, a horror movie called “The Ring” came out in which an old Oliver Stone student film had the power to kill anybody who watched it, a not-too-far-fetched an idea for anyone who has ever had to endure “Any Given Sunday.” While “The Ring” didn’t scare me that much, I liked it anyway and I could clearly see how it could freak someone out. It had suspense, a storyline for smart people and it had an eerie quality about it. Now, we have “Ghost Ship,” a movie about a big boat with lots of dead people on board. Oh, and there also happen to be some corpses that have been there for about four decades.(SPOILER’S WARNING)
"Oh, it's a floater, alright!"
All the stock characters die except for one.
The movie’s grand opening makes this endeavor especially disheartening. “Ghost Ship” opens with an old Warner Brothers graphic from the ‘60s instead of the wavy graphic that accompanies “As Time Goes By.” Then the cheesy title appears on the screen as a helicopter shot takes us to the Ship in question. It’s a tongue-in-cheek moment and for a little while (just a little) my hopes had been raised. I thought maybe that I would be in for another “Eight-Legged Freaks” or something along those lines, a not-too-serious horror movie that liked to play around with conventions and satirize the genre. And that Quality Kill opening involving a cable gone haywire had me ready for an old-fashioned bloodbath that would have gone straight for the R-rating without once giving thought to the pre-teen demographic.
No such luck (although the movie does carry the R-rating). “Ghost Ship” stinks. It’s not good horror, it’s not good suspense, it’s not good humor, it’s not even good gore. The movie’s biggest catch-phrase will give critics such as myself plenty of mileage when describing the experience of watching this movie. At the beginning, a little girl aboard this ship has a sign that says, “I am so bored.” This phrase echoes throughout the movie, and not just in my head, but on screen as well.
So, here’s the deal. We have your token older guy (Gabriel Byrne), your token tomboy (Juliana Margulies), two token comic relief white guys, one token Latino, a token black guy (Isaiah Washington), and one token outsider, Jack (Desmond Harrington), whom we don’t trust from the get-go. Why don’t we trust this guy? Because he knows more about the ship than he’s letting on. You see, he recruits these ship doctors (or welders, whatever they are) to go check out this ship that has been stranded at sea since 1962. They all go and bad haunted house-type things happen. Guess who survives?
Oh, I almost forgot, we also have your token Mysterious Child Who Holds The Key To Everything. It’s time to put a stop to this. Unless it’s “The Shining,” mysterious children don’t have the cache to drudge up any sort of fear in today’s horror movie climate. Kids, unless they’re in my livingroom, just aren’t that scary.
Anyway. Along the way, they see other ghosts of those who died in the opening scene, and in case you walk in late, don’t worry. The movie loves to recount the scene again for you, only this time to the tune of a Disturb’d song (I think). Oh, and if you can’t see anything during this movie, it may be because every character likes to shine their flashlights STRAIGHT INTO YOUR FRICKING RETINAS!!! I look at this as just another tactic to try and wake up the audience that has been sleeping in the theater since last year’s “13 Ghosts.”
Also, if you happen to leave anywhere during the middle part of the movie to urinate on your ticket stub, allow me to reiterate the dialogue you might miss:
“Have you seem Greer?”
“I’m not Greer, I’m Epps”
“Never mind that, who am I?”
“Let’s get out of here!”
“Wait, where’s Murphy?”
“I’m looking for Epps”
“But you look like Greer”
“Never mind that. We have to stick together.”
“Where is everyone?”
“On the ship”
“I’m on the ship”
“Never mind that, where’s Murphy?”
“What about the gold?”
“Forget the gold. Blow up ship!”
“I pooped myself”And it pretty much goes on like that for 88 minutes. I really don’t have much more to say. The movie is made up of action scenes that start in the middle and build up to a slow, pitiful wheeze as well as music video sequences that have no place in any horror movie, especially one not marketed to catatonic pre-teens. The movie plays like a series of annoying pop-up ads that you can’t delete fast enough. It only works as a 10-minute time-killer. If you have some time before “The Ring” starts, go watch the opening of “Ghost Ship” and have a laugh or two. After that, the movie sinks into an abyss of clichés, depression and bad alternative music. Like the movie’s token Mysterious Child Who Holds The Key To Everything, you’ll be “so bored.” You hear that? “So bored.” “So bored,” “So bored,” “So bored!!!”
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6251&reviewer=233
originally posted: 10/26/02 14:20:43