Dark Castle’s original horror tale is New on Collector’s Edition Blu
Beginning with House on Haunted Hill, the Joel Silver/Robert Zemeckis/Gil Adler production company Dark Castle Entertainment — the name itself a tribute to horror and gimmickry pioneer William Castle — carved out an interesting niche as a major player of early-2000s horror, establishing a zippy house aesthetic which was applied to remakes of classic horror films like Thirteen Ghosts and House of Wax, which were full of flashy style, kinetic editing, and CG spooks.
Stylistically in the same vein but unique in that it tells an original story, Ghost Ship stands apart in that it is not a remake (though it borrows a title from a 1952 film).
Under the leadership of a veteran captain (Gabriel Byrne), a skilled salvage crew (Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Isaiah Washington and Karl Urban) acts on a hot tip, partnering with their informer (Desmond Harrington) to track down a derelict cruise ship afloat in the Bering Sea.
The ship holds a gruesome surprise, though — it was met with tragedy almost 40 years ago, when everyone on board was murdered, leaving it a haunted vessel — a ghost ship. As the crew explores their new prize, they encounter brushes with the supernatural.
Beneath Ghost Ship’s terrific setting (and the incredibly weathered set design to match) lies the mystery of its tragedy, and as the ghostly encounters mount, this picture becomes clearer to both the dwindling crew and the audience.
Ghost Ship is best known for its incredible opening sequence, an amazing prologue which sets up the ship’s tragic backstory — and has rightly done down as one of horror’s all-time setpieces. But while that’s the single best scene, there’s more here to appreciate.
I had seen the film once before revisiting it for this review, but really didn’t remember much about it beyond that celebrated opening. But upon rewatching it I do feel that I like it better this time around — I think that many of these early 2000s post-Scream horror films somehow felt too slick and CG-driven at the time, but play better now that time has enhanced their charm.
Like Dark Castle’s remakes of 13 Ghosts and House on Haunted Hill, I don’t think we appreciated enough at the time that Ghost Ship deviated from modern conventions by telling old fashioned ghost stories in a hip, post-slasher environment. Like the films of the man whose name their company bears, they’re very fun to watch, don’t take themselves too seriously, and have only gotten better with time.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray features a slip cover with new artwork by Joel Robinson, and a reversible cover with the new art as well as the original poster design.
Special Features and Extras
- NEW This Isn’t Real — An Interview With Actor Isaiah Washington (6:37)
- NEW Dark Castle At Sea — An Interview With Producer Gil Adler (7:14)
- NEW Every Body On Board — An Interview With Makeup Effects Supervisor Jason Baird (6:29)
- NEW Audio Commentary With Director Steve Beck
- Max On Set: Ghost Ship (15:06)
- Visual Effects Featurette
- A Closer Look At The Gore (5:32)
- Designing The Ghost Ship (6:01)
- Secrets Of The Antonia Graza (5:42)
- Mudvayne “Not Falling” Music Video (3:10)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:14)
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Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.