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Ghost Ship (2002)

'Ghost Ship' is synonymous with its exceptionally creative opening sequence, something that was not only outstanding at the time of this films release, but still holds up just as well today. However, past this opening sequence, I had very little memory of the plot of this film and how the story unfolded past this point, giving me reservations immediately going into this latest rewatch. The set design is flawless. The scale and scope of the ship feels authentic, and once on board, it always felt like you were watching these characters at sea. This is something I find other films set in a similar location don't execute as well, and it is effectively combined with camera framing that is in a constant slight bobbing motion, enhancing the feeling of being at sea. The aging and decrepit state of the cruise liner is incredibly well done and I would actually say that the attention to detail is above and beyond what this film deserves. As someone who is a fan of urban exploration, the concept of this film is very enticing and I felt it delivered on authenticity. It's important when having a film centered around a group of characters, that are marketed to the audience as a close family dynamic team, that the casting is perfect. One weak link, and it's a struggle to invest in the group and the believability of their suggested tight nit dynamic. 'Ghost Ship' does this very well, with big hitters such as Gabriel Byrne, Karl Urban and Julianna Margulies at the forefront of the group. Desmond Harrington is also an important character here and delivers an exceptional job as always. I always find him to be a great actor and very underrated. The ghosts themselves felt rather undistinguished from the human form they once were, other than the use of some rather lazy makeup effects, poor CGI and some cheep camera tricks done in editing I found it to be very unsatisfying for a film titled 'Ghost Ship'. From this aspect the film started to show how unwell it had aged with time. The glaringly bad CGI was the strongest indicator of how dated this film has become and was featured much more frequently than necessary. As great and iconic as that opening 6 minute sequence is, unfortunately everything that comes after it is flat, boring and failed at keeping me engaged with its story development. That is until we reach the twist ending, that not only did I not see coming but was delivered in such a cool and stylistic way that I couldn't help but find myself pulled straight back into the plot. Although not quite making up for the bland hour or so that came be for it, it certainly makes for a very entertaining last act. 'Ghost Ship' has its fair share of moments to warrant its overall success within the genre. However, this feels more catered to a teen horror audience that was all the rage upon its release. Having a solid start, and an even better ending that brings this all full circle, it's disappointing that the hour in between didn't hold as much impact. Although having some issues and some dated special effects, I can still see this having a place on my shelf as an occasional guilty pleasure.


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