Opens January 10, Cert 15, 88 mins
Former special effects man Steven Beck hasn't mastered original filmmaking just yet. Ghost Ship is a cliché-soaked horror lacking in dialogue, characters and, perhaps crucially for the genre, scary thrills. Gabriel Byrne is Captain Sean Murphy, head of a salvage team that discovers wrecked ships and sells off their cargo. Tipped off by Alaskan air pilot Jack Ferriman (Desmond Harrington), the crew (Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington and Alex Dimitriades) come upon the Antonia Graza, an infamous luxury liner abandoned and adrift in the Bering Sea. They anticipate a lucrative haul but, once aboard, realise the ship is controlled by supernatural forces that turn life-threatening.
Initially the ghostly visions and flashbacks of the ship's history are commendably understated, especially Emily Browning's apprehensive little ghoul girl. But, quickly, Beck deviates into horror-by-numbers with, bizarrely, a booming MTV-style soundtrack. And if the central plot was well-worn enough, the finale plummets into the crushingly obvious and banal. Still, with a film called Ghost Ship, what could you expect?
Rating: 2 / 10