Despite an admittedly cool concept and setting, “Ghost Ship” is sadly a failed spook house flick along a very similar (though somewhat better) vein as Dark Castle’s previous effort “Thirteen Ghosts”. Admittedly unlike that effort, ‘Ghost’ at least seems to have a script (or a semblance of one) and its characters are certainly more distinct and likeable than Tony Shaloub and company. However it takes quite a while to get going and doesn’t have that initial effective sense of dread that the crap-tacular “Virus” had (though the second half of ‘Ghost’ is infinitely better).
The location is quite spectacular – the various rotting sets are drenched in watery light reflections, the locations such as a pool and a large ballroom look great although there’s too many ‘corridor’ scenes which makes it seem cheap at times. The performances are standard for this fare – Byrne and Marguiles prove somewhat ordinary, Eldard & the other crewmates are also let downs. On the other hand Desmond Harrington is quite solid in a nice guy role and the various ghosts (esp. the little girl) are quite well portrayed.
Pacing is off though – after a quite shocking opening scene, for the first 50 minutes or so there’s an initial build-up to try and establish the characters and give them a background which fails quite miserably. However with a little over half an hour ago when the group becomes trapped and they have to investigate the mystery of what happened things really start to pick up with some good jumps and mystery twists. Editing is really quite awful though with lots of utterly unneeded jumps and quite visible gaps in the story. Combined with one of the worst overblown scores I’ve heard in ages I have to wonder what happened?
An otherwise creepy little thriller which could’ve been effective has become another crappy MTV attempt at horror. The original script for this was apparently a much creepier “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” style thriller focusing more on insanity than body count – now THAT is a film I’d like to see. This on the other hand sadly feels like “Thirteen Ghosts” – good concept but poorly executed. Could have been so much more.