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Ghost Ship

Sea Evil 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

The opening five minutes of Ghost Ship start off with a whimsical, sweeping orchestral score as we are taken onboard the beautiful cruise liner, Antonia Graza, circa 1962, where the cheerful guests are enjoying a dance on the ship’s main deck. The payoff to this scene is so shocking, so vividly unsettling, so grisly, and so unforgettable that it hangs over the rest of the film like a nightmare that refuses to go away.

Zoom forward to the present day, a salvage crew headed by Murphy (Byrne) and Epps (Margulies) have no sooner gotten back to land when they are approached by a young man named Ferriman (Desmond Harrington) who has taken an aerial photo of a ghost ship in the middle of the Bering Sea. With the payday for pulling it back to shore certain to be significant, the team accepts. What they find is the infamous, deserted Antonia Graza, gone missing for forty years. Once aboard the rustic cruise liner, the crew begin to suspect they may not be alone after all. As Epps starts experiencing apparitions of a little girl, what happened on the ship years ago becomes clear, showing why the ghostly inhabitants of the ship may never let the new intruders leave.

Ghost Ship contains a spooky ambiance from start to finish, and puts to great use the impressive production design and gloomy cinematography. Most appreciable are characters not quite as paper-thin as one might suspect, and plot twists that actually make a bit of sense (refreshingly different considering such films as House on Haunted Hill and Thir13en Ghosts were made by the same studio). The cast is also a step above what is usually expected from such a movie. Former ER regular Julianna Margulies makes Epps both strong-willed and vulnerable; the perfect combination for what is, in essence, the heroic female Ripley role. Isaiah Washington (Exit Wounds) also has some memorable moments as Greer, a man with a beloved fiancée waiting at home who pays for a sexual encounter with a seductive spirit.

A fast-paced flashback back to the fateful evening Antonia Graza was lost is an editing triumph, while the explosive finale offers up a gorgeous, original notion never glimpsed on film before in quite the same way. Miss this film and you miss something that stands above the rest of the Horror/Thriller genre.

John Finnegan

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Summer Term (35mm)