Blu-ray Review: Ghost Ship (2002)

September 9, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Back in 1962, pleasure cruise ship the Antonia Graza has nearly it’s entire occupancy scissored in two by a seemingly freak accident involving a broken cable.

Flash forward to the modern age, and a group of rough n’ tumble salvagers lead by the no-bullshit Murphy (Gabriel Byrne) catch wind of the ship just floatin’ out on the Bearing Sea just waiting to be plundered!

Once on board, our heroes soon find they are up to their assholes in supernatural goings-on, and the ghosts that now inhabit the vessel are none-to-eager to give up their secrets!

While the story isn’t going to set the wicked world ablaze with it’s originality (though credit where credit is due, the sequence where we discover the truth behind the ghost ship is top-notch indeed), Ghost Ship has plenty of things in it’s favor. Chief among them is the absolutely top-notch set design, with the titular location being fully realized, and completely (and fittingly) off-putting with it’s rusty walls, damp floors, and overall dilapidated state. It’s an effective haunted house surrogate, and it’s a creepy delight indeed.

Also up to snuff is the cast assembled here; Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Karl Urban, Isaiah Washington… these are all solid performers, and their work here keeps the proceedings grounded as things go supernatural sideways with the quickness!

Speaking of the ghostly side of things, things are played rather straightforward, with spectral children, skeletons, and visions being the main order of the day, rather than over-the-top monster ghosts… a nice throwback to more traditional ghost stories. There is also some solid gore on display, particular in the ultra-bloody opening set piece.

In the slim negative column, there is some dodgy Cg on display, and while having some solid eerie vibes, Ghost Ship isn’t exactly terrifying… think of it more as an action mystery with supernatural elements.

As for special features on this Scream Factory Blu-ray release, we get: interviews with Washington, make-up effects supervisor Jason Baird, and producer Gil Adler, an archival set visit, featurettes on the film’s visual effects, gore, and design, an arty presentation of the secrets of the ship, a Mudvayne music video, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Also included is a new audio commentary from personable director Steve Beck (who also helmed 2001’s Thir13en Ghosts for the same production company) that takes us through the film’s production in an engaging fashion.

All in all, Ghost Ship is a fun, eerie, high seas terror tale well worth giving your time to!



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