Director: Steve Beck
Cast: Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington, Gabriel Byrne
Release Date: September 29, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Finders keepers. Any abandoned ship floating in international waters can be claimed and towed to port by whomever is fortunate enough to find it. Or, in the case of one team of salvage experts, unfortunate enough.
In this stylish, effects-packed chiller from Dark Castle Entertainment, salvagers trained for any situation imaginable come face to horrifying face with the unimaginable after boarding a derelict luxury liner. Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard and Isaiah Washington are among the hands on deck who’ll confront a seafaring collector of souls. Steve Beck (Thirteen Ghosts) directs this frightful chiller.
Please Note: Shout! Factory (Scream Factory) provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Dark Castle Entertainment (House on Haunted Hill, Thir13en Ghosts) returns with haunted terror on the high seas in ‘Ghost Ship’. The film follows a salvage crew aboard a tugboat who are offered an opportunity too good to pass up when a stranger in a local bar provides them with directions to a long lost gem in exchange for a cut. As the group heads out in search of the mysterious cruise boat, they eventually run directly into it and upon boarding realize it’s littered with dark secrets and odd occurrences which quickly increase as the boatful of spirits from a massacre decades prior begin to awaken. But will they cut their losses and run, or are the treasures within enough to keep them onboard against their better judgement?
The third offering from Dark Castle Entertainment and their follow-up to ‘Thir13en Ghosts’, ‘Ghost Ship’ marked their first fully original offering following two remakes of classic William Castle films. While both of their previous outings managed to deliver a capable mix of terror, gore and twisted fun, ‘Ghost Ship’ was somewhat more of a mixed bag. Even after a downright blood-soaked and gnarly opening sequence that had jaws dropping throughout the theater (and is still talked about so many years later), the film found itself struggling throughout the remainder of its duration. While much of the film has some strong points and it’s by no means an entirely bad film, by opening up with such an unforgettable sequence it left fans desiring more of that carnage but never subsequently delivered anything remotely on par with its introduction. Even so, the remainder of the movie certainly isn’t all bad and does offer some chilling sequences and somewhat gory moments sprinkled throughout. Almost surely the film’s biggest strength is its noteworthy cast which includes Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard, Gabriel Byrne, Isaiah Washington, Karl Urban, Desmond Harrington, Alex Dimitriades, Emily Browning and more, all guided along by director Steve Beck who returns to the helm for his second (and final) feature length directorial effort following his directorial debut on ‘Thir13en Ghosts’.
Overall, ‘Ghost Ship’ is an enjoyable horror film that has its strengths, but also its weaknesses; particularly in opening with such an impressive bang that it leaves the remainder of the film feeling somewhat lackluster. Yet, genre fans who never had the pleasure of this one will probably still want to give it a chance whenever convenient. Fans of ‘Ghost Ship’ or of Dark Castle’s films in general will probably want to consider picking up a copy of Scream Factory’s new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release, especially if they don’t already own the previous Blu-ray from Warner that came out over a decade ago. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray offers fairly solid high definition video and audio presentations of the film itself, along with a nice handful of bonus content featuring a few brand new extras created specifically for this release. It may not be up there with some of Scream Factory’s other remarkable releases, but it definitely isn’t lacking either. It really all comes down to whether it’s personally worth it for each fan to double dip if they already own the old Blu-ray release.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Ghost Ship’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty good in many respects and for the most part offers a relatively clean, smooth and nicely detailed presentation throughout, albeit occasionally appearing a bit dull or worn with colors also sometimes seeming mildly muted. Even so, most aspects of it deliver nicely and it holds up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit moments of which there are no shortage in the film. Overall, this is a more than decent high definition video presentation that may not be perfect but still looks pretty solid altogether.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, sharp and nicely aggressive audio presentation throughout that repeatedly contributes to the enjoyment of the viewing experience. It frequently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send water crashing and hulls creaking, along with some creepy and action related sound effects regularly making their way throughout the various speakers, while never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds great from start to finish and never disappoints.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Ghost Ship’ includes a nice collection of bonus content that fans should enjoy, featuring some brand new extras created specifically for this release along with some archival bonus features. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Steve Beck’, in addition to some new interviews, archival behind the scenes Featurettes and more including ‘This Isn’t Real – Isaiah Washington on Ghost Ship’ (running approximately 7 minutes in length), ‘Every Body on Board – Makeup Effects Supervisor Jason Baird on Ghost Ship’ (running approximately 6 minutes), ‘Dark Castle at Sea – Producer Gil Adler on Ghost Ship’ (approximately 7 minutes), plus ‘Max on Set: Ghost Ship’ (approximately 15 minutes), ‘Visual Effects’ (6 minutes), ‘A Closer Look at the Gore’ (5 minutes), ‘Designing the Ghost Ship’ (6 minutes) and ‘Secrets of the Antonia Graza’ (6 minutes). The ‘Mudvayne “Not Falling” Music Video’ (3 minutes) and the film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes) are also included.