ghost ship | vernon sewell | dermot walsh | hazel court | hugh burden | boat | haunted | ghost | haunting | based on | play | united kingdom | john robinson | hugh latimer | joan carol | joss ambler | mignon o'doherty | laidman browne | meadows white | pierre mille
Film: Ghost Ship
Director: Vernon Sewell
Writer: Vernon Sewell
Starring: Dermot Walsh, Hazel Court and Hugh Burden
This is a movie that I got turned on to when I was looking through the Internet Movie Database some years ago. At one point, this was listed as the original version of the movie Ghost Ship from 2002. That is the reason I picked this movie up. They have nothing in common outside of featuring a ghost ship and sharing that title. I didn’t realize until writing this review that it was based on a play. It does explain things for sure.
Synopsis: a luxury ship is haunted by the ghosts of a crew that had disappeared off the ship years before.
For this movie, we start with Guy (Dermot Walsh) and his wife, Margaret (Hazel Court). They arrive at a pier where they’re looking to buy a yacht. They meet with the manager, Joss Ambler, and after some confusion, it turns out they want to buy The Cyclops. This couple is new to the United Kingdom. Before selling them the ship, he tells the checkered past.
It belonged to Prof. Mansel Martineau (John Robinson). He updated the engine room and the machinery to sail with minimal crew. During that voyage, they lost communications and everyone thought it snuck. Days later it was found floating adrift by a group of fishers. Since then, anyone that tries to take possession of this yacht, smells cigar smoke and people see a ghost in the engine room.
Guy doesn’t believe in this. Margaret does smell the smoke quite a few times. Regardless, they bought the vessel and fix it up. Their plan is to set sail and live on this ship. The problem then becomes they have trouble keeping someone to run the engine room. The only person who agrees to stay on and has no issues is deckhand. The couple have snuck all their money in. They investigate what is happening with investment and whether it is truly haunted.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap as there isn’t much to this movie. We are getting a lot of talking and seeing now that this is a take on a play, which makes sense. This movie could be done with minimal sets. Where I want to start first is the idea of a ghost ship. I’m both fascinated by the ocean as well as terrified. Part of my fear is what is at the bottom that we don’t know about, but the other part is being stranded. In the case of a ghost ship, it is scary to me that there are vessels out there that we might never know what happened on them to get them left there. Equally, there are the ghost stories about how some people see certain ships out to sea and then they disappear. These things tick boxes for me.
For this movie though, we have an interesting story with what happened to the ship. We do get the explanation to end the movie. Part of this is done when Dr. Fawcett (Hugh Burden) who is a paranormal investigator arrives and he calls a medium, Mrs. Manley (Mignon O’Doherty). The story that gets revealed here is basic though. I like the idea of it and how everything ties in. The concept of there being a ghost aboard the ship works for me.
To shift over to a negative though, this movie is boring. The reason I think is that it is dialogue heavy and we get minimal haunting things. There aren’t a lot they can do so that makes sense. There is a creepy scene where Guy finally sees a specter in the engine room and it spooks him. Other than that, it is Margaret and other characters asking about the smell of cigar smoke. The movie has a low runtime of 70 minutes though, which is a shame. There are just too many repetitive things in my opinion.
Moving away from that, I’ll go to the acting. I thought that Walsh and Court were good as our main couple. I like their interactions as they feel real. Walsh is the more grounded one and doesn’t believe in the haunting. At first, Court doesn’t either. It is when she experiences things that she believes. Other than that, I thought that Burden was good to help us get to bottom of things. I like that we get to see the story of Prof. Martineau, his wife and engine man play out as well as the fishers finding the ship at sea. No one stands out, but they do direct the story where we need to go.
That will take me to the filmmaking aspects. For the effects, we don’t get a lot of them. It also isn’t that type of movie. We do get smoke that goes away naturally. What I like there is that we know there is supposed to be no one in that room, but we can see this. The cinematography is also fine. They don’t do anything to stand out there unfortunately. Other than that, I’d say that the soundtrack works. There is a scene where someone forgets to hang up a phone and it leads to someone discovering information. That is the only part that stood out with the sound design.
In conclusion, this movie has some interesting aspects, but it ultimately was boring in how it was relayed. I’d say the best part of the movie was the acting. The idea of this haunted yacht is intriguing and learning more about it is good. Just how it is done doesn’t captivate you. For me, it had trouble keeping my interest. Other than that, the cinematography, effects and soundtrack are all fine. None of them stand out though either. For me, I’d say this is an average movie. There are not enough good things to go higher as there are equally issues that I had.
My Rating: 5 out of 10