Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship (2002)
Warner Home Video
Extras: Various Featurettes, Music Video, Theatrical Trailer

With "Ghost Ship", Warner Home Video is sending another variation of the haunted house genre into the race. Being not unlike "Event Horizon," "Deep Rising" and even films like "Virus," Steven Beck’s "Ghost Ship" is once again taking the premise of a seemingly empty vessel isolated somewhere at sea where one person after the other is cherry-picked and killed off. Now very exciting you may think, but unlike all of the aforementioned movies, "Ghost Ship" actually delivers a lot of dark atmosphere that can indeed run a shudder down your spine.

A group of salvagers discover the "Antonia Graza" drifting in the Bering Sea. It is an Italian ocean liner that had mysteriously disappeared in 1962. The vessel is dilapidated and seemingly abandoned, and the salvagers, led by Murphy (Gabriel Byrne) and Epps (Julianna Margulies), have high hopes of towing her to port and selling the valuable remains. But they soon discover that something is just not right with the ship and they find themselves trapped in the slowly sinking vessel, surrounded by a demon and the ghosts of the perished passengers.

Warner Home Video is presenting "Ghost Ship" in its original 1.85:1 theatrical <$PS,widescreen> presentation on this DVD, in a transfer that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TV sets. The print is absolutely clean and clear and reveals a very good level of definition. It is a real pleasure to see all the intricate details of the production come to the screen in this transfer with vivid and atmospheric colors as well as all the subtle details of the textures fully intact. Colors are beautifully rendered and perfectly capture the moody settings and intricate lighting set-ups the film has to offer. Blacks are very deep and rich, firmly rooting the image while creating finely delineated shadows that never lose their definition. Overall, it is a flawless picture, just the way you would expect this film to look like in order to restore the unsettling atmosphere of the ghost ship.

The audio on the DVD is equally impressive. Coming as a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> track, the audio is very aggressive and dynamic. Surround channels are in constant use, creating a barrage of noises and effects that help to underscore the creepy atmosphere of the film. Whether it is ambient effects that are masterfully used to create spatial dimension and give the ship a brooding "life" of its own, of the aggressive explosive use of surrounds during the action scenes, this is a very good track to put your home theater to use. The frequency response is wide and features solid basses with plenty of punch, while the high end of the audio is very clear. It creates a very transparent ambient field that allows you to pinpoint the location of sound sources very accurately, further enhancing the movie’s atmosphere. Dialogues are well integrated and never drowned out.

The DVD is also packed with great extras, as you would expect from such an anticipated Warner Home Video release. Although, interestingly, the DVD contains no <$commentary,commentary track>, the disc has nonetheless quite a few things to offer. One of them is a 15-minute production featurette that takes you behind the scenes of the film’s shoot. It’s a mix of footage form the actual film, spliced in with interviews and on-set footage. While the coverage is a bit on the promo side, it is nonetheless interesting to see behind the scenes.

"Secrets Of The Antonia Graza" is another featurette on the subject, this time quite a bit more in-depth and production oriented. It covers in detail how the scenes involving the ship were shot, including looks at the actual shoot of the models as well as the real sets that were built for some of the ship’s locations.

"A Look At The Gore" is a 5-minute featurette that takes a closer look at the creation of the gore effects in the movie – of which there are quite a few. The featurette is very nicely put together and covers the majority of the effects seen in the movie. Keep in mind, though, that it destroys the illusion quite a bit to see these effects dissected in such detail.

"Designing The Ghost Ship" is a look at the ship in terms of its transformation. How the sets have been designed so that they could effectively turned from their beautiful glory, to the rusted abandoned state.

Mudvayne’s music video "Not Falling" is also included on the disc in <$PS,widescreen>. Interestingly, this video gives away so much of the movie that it really is a spoiler. It literally gives away every plot point of the film and whoever did this video should get a serious slap on the wrist for the hack-job done.

The DVD is rounded out by cast and crew information and the movie’s theatrical trailer. It is a very suspenseful trailer that really sets up the film nicely.

"Ghost Ship" is a pleasant surprise and an effective horror movie. Living mostly on its atmosphere that is created masterfully with creepy images and sound effects, the film has a luring story that is intriguing and suspenseful. Photographed in great images, the film truly manages to create a creepy atmosphere that holds on almost throughout the film. Horror fans should definitely check this one out!