Blu-Ray Review: ‘Ghost Ship’ (Collector’s Edition)

Ghost Ship DVD Review

Back in 1999, Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, and Gilbert Adler set up Dark Castle Entertainment with the intent to remake the old William Castle classics, and that is what they started out doing.

First, they did House on Haunted Hill. Then they did Thirteen Ghosts, but for their third movie, they shifted away from that and did their own original concept with Ghost Ship. For Ghost Ship, they brought back director Steven Beck, who did Thirteen Ghosts, and you can see those strong visuals paid off in the end.  I actually remember seeing Ghost Ship in theaters when it came out (more accurately, I probably saw it in the second run “dollar theater.” Oh, those days when we used to go watch movies in a theater. How I miss you. But I digress…..

Ghost Ship starts in May 1962 aboard the ship Antonia Brasa, and everybody is in a festive mood. There is dancing, drinking, and an Italian singer names Francesca is belting out tunes. Everybody is having a great time except for a little girl that doesn’t have a dance partner. The captain graciously asks her to dance. As this happens, a tragic event occurs. I don’t want to give it away, but it is visually impressive the way it happens. As a result, many people die, except for the little girl who survives the incident. 

We jump to 40 years later, and a salvage crew finds the Antonia Brasa floating in the ocean after missing this entire time. They immediately find boxes of gold on the ship and, after some supernatural occurrences, decide to leave and take the gold with them – until their ship is destroyed. With that, they must stay on the Ghost Ship and repair it to make it work. 

While on the ship, each member of the salvage crew encounters different spirits. Some die, some survive, and in the end, we learn a much ghastlier story behind the Antonia Brasa, as well as the gold. I hate to give anything away, and it is actually a little complicated, but it is pretty good.

This movie has a couple of things going for it. First, it has a top-notch cast. With leads like Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington, and Karl Urban as the salvager crew, you can’t ask for much better than that. The directing is also well done. It has the same style and flair as Thirteen Ghosts (same director), and it shows the director knows how to set the tone and scare the audience. The visuals are amazing and come through on the Blu-ray. In the dark, all of the special effects do jump out at you.

Another thing this movie has going for it is that sense of claustrophobia and isolation. Some of my favorite horror films really use that aspect. The Shining does it well, and Event Horizon, well, scared the crap out of me. It plays on that tight, isolated environment that has no escape to a substantial degree, and it does so successfully.

The Blu-ray release contains the following extras.

Bonus Features

  • NEW This Isn’t Real – An Interview With Actor Isaiah Washington
  • NEW Dark Castle At Sea – An Interview With Producer Gil Adler
  • NEW Every Body On Board – An Interview With Makeup Effects Supervisor Jason Baird
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Steve Beck
  • Max On Set: Ghost Ship Featurette
  • Visual Effects Featurette
  • A Closer Look At The Gore Featurette
  • Designing The Ghost Ship Featurette
  • Secrets Of The Antonia Graza Clips
  • Mudvayne “Not Falling” Music Video
  • Theatrical Trailer

Overall, this is an excellent release from Scream Factory. Being about 20 years old, you might think it doesn’t play today, which is the case with many films; however, it’s not the case with this film. The sea doesn’t change, so being stranded at sea hasn’t been mitigated by technology and social media. It makes it all the more believable as far as stories go. If you want a creepy (and at times gory) scare, I recommend this film.

Ghost Ship Collector’s Edition is out Tuesday, September 29th from Scream! Factory.

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