Ghost Ship

By Mark Ramsey | 2002/10/28

Ahoy ye seekers of quality, ’tis not the weekend for you. Your fresh movie choices include a malevolent maritime menace called Ghost Ship and Jackass, aimed at that psychographic sliver of guys for whom “girl” is a four letter word spelled with a “u.”

If I’m gonna see actors torture themselves, I prefer to see them using a script. Ghost Ship here I come….

There are two kinds of scary movies: The kind you scream at and the kind you scream at the person who brought you. Guess which one Ghost Ship is?

This movie doesn’t just project onto the big screen, it projectile vomits. Yes, piracy on the open sea is alive and well, and if you’re in the audience you are the scallywag being hornswaggled.

ghostship.jpgIt’s tough to believe Julianna Margulies passed on $27 million for E.R. so she could exercise her “artistic integrity” in a scum-bucket of a movie like Ghost Ship. This flick ought to batten down the hatches of Julianna’s movie career once and for all.

Speaking of “down the hatch,” there’s Gabriel Byrne, the John Carradine of modern horror, sucking up the digital FX like Harvey Weinstein sucks up vichyssoise.

Gabe is – get this – a tugboat captain! And Ghost Ship is exactly the reason why Gabe’s old lady rolled her eyes when he said “Ma, I want to be an actor.”

Together, Julianna and Gabe lead a cast of unknowns into uncharted waters. Out there, they encounter an old lost ship. Gabriel, it turns out, knows everything about this old vessel, down to the number of gangs on the gangplank. There’s money to be made so, naturally, it’s salvage time!

The ship is empty, and it’s only a matter of time until this emptiness swallows up the cast and the undernourished souls of the audience along with them.

Like virtually all tales of seafaring adventure, this one revolves around the booty. No, not that booty. I’m talking Pieces of Eight, Doubloons – gold bricks!

ghostship_shaft.jpgBad luck befalls him who lusts for the gold. Greed, in other words, is bad – a message evidently lost on these filmmakers when they elected to shoot first and ask questions later.

Julianna greets a little spirit girl who, after forty years, hasn’t aged – something which can’t be said for the audience after forty minutes.

Sadly, the plot makes no more sense to Julianna than to the rest of us, so the ghost girl takes her on an otherworldly history tour to a disco beat. That way she can travel back in time to the moment, forty years past, when an unfortunate accident on the dance floor sliced virtually every passenger in half – this wouldn’t have been so bad except now nobody could reach the buffet.

The ship, it seems, is trying to fill up with victims to meet a quota of souls, as it were. Why not fill their soul quota the way everyone else does, with Ashanti and Missy Elliot.

There are lots of poorly conceived and predictably blah would-be scares. All leading up to unintentionally funny lines like “you can’t cheat on your fiancé with a dead girl, right?” In other words, necrophilia may be wrong, but at least it ain’t cheatin’!

The scariest thing about Ghost Ship is that it could even get made. Even with a concept higher than Nick Nolte behind a wheel on Pacific Coast Highway.

The last word in this movie goes to Julianna Margulies who screams “No!!!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As Bluebeard might say, Ghost Ship is Yo-Ho-Horrendous. From stern to bow to bow-wow-wow.

Photos Copyright ©2002 Warner Bros. Pictures


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