The opening of this film alone is probably one of the most unique if not memorable moments of any horror movie I've ever seen. Ghost Ship was released in 2002 from Warner Brothers Studios and Dark Castle Entertainment. Steve Beck directed along with a gorgeous and haunting soundtrack from John Frizzell and Gabriel Mann. This film came out right about when I was fourteen years old. I remember going to the theater with my mother and walked out not too impressed with the flick. Once Easter rolled around I became obsessed and received it on DVD. It's been my favorite movie ever since.
Heading the cast are veteran pros Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard and the lesser known but future stars in their own right; Emily Browning, Desmond Harrington and Karl Urban.
Margulies takes this role in stride as the tough as nails but maternal as hell Maureen Epps. Byrne plays the former alcoholic and quick tempered Irish Captain Sean Murphy; which later revealed that it was Epps who helped him away from the bottom of the bottle.
It's pretty funny when Harrington's Jack Ferriman asks if both Epps and Murphy are a couple and Washington's Greer responds with; "Hell no, she's like a daughter to him."
However, we pretty much gathered from the beginning 'present day' scene that his "Do you want me to come down there and kick your ass?" was pretty much fatherly in its own rough and tumble way. Epps is the sarcastic tomboy best friend you always wanted and a ball buster to boot.
And then we have Eldard's Dodge who has had a crush on Epps for a pretty long time and is always around his comrade in arms, Urban's Munder. Dodge is sort of the blonde pretty boy of the crew but make no mistake, he's brave and meaningful in his own right. Munder on the other hand is more the comic relief and it's pretty obvious that he's in desperate need of a bath. Greer is the first mate of the crew and they were just all coming back from a six month salvage trip and heavily looking forward to pay day. He's also recently engaged and sadly won't be seeing his future wife anytime soon.
Santos is the other half of the comic relief in this movie. He slightly plays a stereotypical Hispanic role as the mechanic with the strong accent, Spanish words and only has a few lines here and there. However, he is obsessed with his car, loves engines and excels at driving the tugboat with a lot of Mudvayne's "Not Falling" blaring through the speakers. Kudos, Santos!
The Arctic Warrior crew head straight for a bar in which they joke over beers, loud music and a smoky atmosphere all to collect their payment of their last job. And this is where Harrington's Jack Ferriman is introduced. He comes off as a naive Canadian air pilot who has done some flybys after coming across an abandoned ship in the middle of the Bering Strait. Epps is the first one to call BS along with Murphy but it's then that Munder's reassurance comes the silent temptation of greed.
They think it over and then call him back to discuss payment. When Jack knows he's being ripped off he immediately shoots down Murphy's offering of his percent but instead tricks him into letting him go with them. Now by this time if you haven't caught onto Jack's last name, it's Ferriman. Which by mythical standards links directly to The Ferryman. As in, pay the Ferryman and the man who takes the lost souls. Get it yet? You will.
The lounge singer in the beginning of the movie by the name of Francesca (whose back story along with Katie's and a few others can be found in the Antonia Graza special features DVD game) immediately catches Greer's attention. And here we thought he was in a committed relationship?
One by one the crew starts to go down like dominoes. It started off with weird static coming from the walkie talkies, pranks gone wrong and of course the gold coming into play. Our heroine Epps wants no part of the infamous ploy of gold and we sit and watch as the boys move what definitely would be too heavy of crates of gold on the floor.
How the hell did they pick that up anyway? Movie magic.
By the time we get down to our final two, with the help of Katie and her wayback when flashback, Epps warns Dodge that Jack isn't who he said he was. After she leaves him to deal with Ferriman himself, Epps heads down into the engine room to stick the already sinking ship full of C4. She's going to blow the thing sky high.
By the time Dodge reaches Epps in the watery area, it's revealed what exactly his fate was. Being the sole survivor now, it's up to her to be the one to stop the soul taker. To free the souls. And free them she does, along with having to hear a very monotone and long speech from Ferriman in the process about management kicking his ass.
Oops, bye boat and bye souls!
Somehow, the woman is able to float around on a piece of broken furniture from the ship along the Bering Strait. Sunburned and most likely in reality would have froze to death, another cruise ship picks her up.
Contrary to belief the very last scene at the end of the movie is NOT Epps' crew no matter how much it looks like them. While Katie's soul goes free, Epps blew up Ferriman which means she killed him. He's got free reign on her soul (sadly no sequels came to be!) as she sinned from his 'murder'.
The last scene we see she's being loaded into an ambulance, still wearing Katie's heart locket and is heavily intrigued and concerned when the 1960s uniforms come into play along with the cursed gold.
Low and behold "Not Falling" blares into our speakers once more and Jack Ferriman comes along with his sinister and pretty angry glare in her direction. One final "No!" is echoed as the doors close and we're left to point and laugh at Jack's royal ass-kicking he probably got from Management. New ship, new souls.
There were a couple things in the film that I think didn't really have to be there. Such as Francesca having a little too long of a nude scene for my taste. Munder's death looked extremely fake and I wish they let some of the cast live longer. The music was breath taking (I actually used to listen to it before I went to bed, no lie.) along with a lot of the special effects.
The acting was good and you really felt for Katie's loss of her parents and Epps' sadness when it came to her crew. Plus extra brownie points for making that scene of her and Ferriman slamming her into that steel pipe.
Last year I saw a movie called "The Collection" and it opening scene reminded me almost instantly of the scene in the opening of Ghost Ship when the bodies fall all around the Antonia Graza's main deck with the wiring. The only difference was that The Collection had their scene take place in a night club with a giant lawn mower-like blade turning down from the ceiling.
Pretty gruesome either way.
This will always remain one of my favorites. Go pick up the DVD!