Every Halloween, a bad horror film is released, makes a few dollars from thrill-seeking 20-year-olds, then disappears from our collective consciousness before the Thanksgiving turkeys have even been executed.
This year, it’s “Ghost Ship’s” turn to suck. Like its forgotten brethren before it, “Ghost Ship” thinks gore is the same thing as terror, and that making things lunge out at viewers is the same thing as scaring them.
In the Bering Sea is a salvage ship run by Capt. Murphy (Gabriel Byrne) and his hardy crew of maritime stock characters. One of them is played by Julianna Margulies, who gets top billing, which means she will probably survive. Another one is African-American, which means he could get killed — unless he’s the comic relief, in which case he’ll live — oh, but he mentioned he has a fiancÃ©e back home, which means he has to die.
At any rate, the crew is led by a helicopter pilot named Jack (Desmond Harrington) to a ghost ship, a floating wreck they recognize as a cruise ship that disappeared in 1962. Something dreadful happened on that boat 40 years ago, and we know part of the story courtesy of the film’s tastelessly horrific prologue, in which not a few passengers are cut in half.
Naturally, once our heroes have boarded the ghost ship, weird things will begin to happen. And of course they will ignore common sense, split up and get killed separately.
There is no suspense, because even if we haven’t guessed who will survive, we don’t care enough about any of them to be concerned for their safety.
There is no dread of the ghosts, because some of them turn out to be remarkably helpful and informative.
There is no hope of a good time, because this was directed by Steve Beck — the same man who gave us last year’s Halloween stinker, “Thirteen Ghosts.” The wooden acting and ludicrous dialogue that pervaded that film are present here, too. Even as lame horror flicks go, this is lame. Go watch “The Ring” instead.
D- (1 hr., 28 min.; )