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The Horror Twist: Why Ghost Ship Had One Of The Most Inventive Scenes in Modern Horrors

Yes there are spoilers. Massive ones. Walk away before it’s too late, save yourself.

It’s safe to say that some guilty pleasure movies need constant talking about. They need their fans to climb to the highest level of buildings and proclaim their love, the awfulness and the good stuff. They need cheerleaders chanting about how bloody brilliant it is while elbowing out of the way the detractors. Movies like these, they need someone to lend them a helping hand, to guide people away from all the bad stuff within the movie and say things like “yes, however, look at who great this is.” Sometimes, stale treats need constant attention.

So yes, this is why I am talking about Ghost Ship.

Image result for ghost ship
While I don’t want to go into too much detail about the movie because we have done that before. It basically follows sea scavengers (and no, that is not another term for pirates, they salvage shipwrecks,) who are lured into an infamous ship, Antonia Graza, which disappeared many years before. While on-board the ship, they soon realise that there are devilish reasons for the ships disappearance and that there may be spirits floating about. As their team start to get picked off one by one, Maureen Epps must discover the truth about the Antonia Graza before it is too late. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Karl Urban, Emily Browning, and Julianna Margulies, this is a cheesy but still excellent film.

Like I said, there is no point in going through what’s good and bad about it. What I will do is talk about the most important, iconic and unforgettable scene. Now, it is very hard to implement twists into horror movies without the audience guessing it. After all, there has been so many different endings. There have been dreams, mothers, fat girls, ugly girls, ugly men, gorgeous men, children, paintings, cars, religion, dogs and much much more that turn out to be the shocking killer. In ghost stories, it’s not much different and you always end up seeing what happens without. Predictable, cheesy…yawn.

Not with Ghost Ship. In fact, written by John Pogue (who directed, more recently,The Quiet Ones) and Mark Hanlon, directed by Steve Beck, they manage to implement such a corking twist that it actually brings Ghost Ship up from the usual yarn. Ok. So we all knew that Ferrimen (the guy who directed the crew to the abandoned ship,) was a bit dodgy but would you have guessed he was a demon, charged with collecting a quota of souls so he can be redeems from his sins? No. Me neither.

Image result for ghost ship desmond harrington

But what’s more, you find out the massive twist in the film in an execution that, to my eyes, is damn flawless. It is told in flashback form, a trope so tiresomely used before. Set perfectly to Gabriel Mann’s “My Little Box,” the ghost girl that has been stalking Epps takes you on the harrowing true store of the fate of the passengers on the ship. Much more gruesome than the opening wire slicing scene, Katie (the girl,) sees the ship dissolve into madness. And the truth is? Ferrimen has been using people. In a hierarchy of blackmail, he seduces people into murdering over gold because he can claim them for hell.

It is a genius move for the writing team. It adds a new dimension to the film. It an incredibly creepy scene that show cases how greed can change a man. Of course, there are lots of gruesome deaths but the team behind this horror movie make you care about some of them. This mixture of emotions, fear and confusion makes your pulse beat and your hairs stand on end. A perfectly organised moment makes it utterly compelling in a truly horrific way.

Ghost Ship is one of those movies that proves the importance of music. “My Little Box” is timed evocatively well, able to add a layer of creepiness to the film. Not only is the sheer desolation of the scene scary and horrifying but Gabriel Mann’s haunting alternative melody makes your stomach turn. It is the perfect tune for an impeccable scene and it twists alongside the actions of the population of the ship. Innocence and guilty, criminals and victims, blood and gore, all combine for a shocking scene. And Desmond Harrington is the perfect charming villain as Ferriman.

This scene alone should tether Ghost Ship to the cult classic. The scene. That flipping scene. That’s how good it is. And need I say anymore. Take a gander at it, it is brilliant.


Happy Halloween! 

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