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Upstream: Ghost Ship, the Underrated Horror Classic

Netflix has added some real hidden gems to their lineup and Ghost Ship is one of them. Join us for another review of streaming choices for the discerning viewer. We will help you navigate that minefield that is “what to watch” late at night so you do fall into the void of endless scrolling.

Emily Browning plays Katie, an ethereal link to the past.

Ghost Ship was released in 2002, five years after everyone thought Titanic put the lid on boat movies. Directed by Steve Beck who also helmed Thir13en Ghosts. As decent as both offerings Mr. Beck delivered, he has not directed another major motion picture since. Very strange given that Ghost Ship returned almost $70 million worldwide on a $20 million budget.


The quick and dirty version of the story is the crew of a salvage tug are offered a chance too good to be true, the recovery of a long lost cruise ship adrift at sea. With the possibility of a huge payday looming, they throw caution to the wind and embark with little to no background or preparation. Will their greed turn out to be their undoing?…of course it will, this IS a horror movie!

The opening scene is wickedly good!

Given that this film is almost 20 years old, the effects pretty much still hold up. The opening sequence for example is both chilling and well shot. I can’t remember a scene depicting carnage on that scale, done that well, since Carrie‘s prom. The sets are great, you can’t get much creepier than a boat that has been adrift at sea for over 40 years. The story is dropped to the viewer like bread crumbs with the characters uncovering just pieces of the overall picture. You are left guessing just how everything falls into place till near the end of the film, but the payoff is great.

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Damn it Jim, I’m a spot welder, not a doctor!

The cast is jam packed with genre veterans; Gabriel Byrne (End of Days, Usual Suspects, Hereditary), Julianna Margulies (Snakes on a Plane, Mists of Avalon), and Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek, LOTR). Emily Browning (American Gods, Sucker Punch, and the movie version of A Series of Unfortunate Events ) masterfully plays the adolescent ghost girl who ties both the past and present stories of the SS Antonia Graza.

I highly recommend giving this a watch if you are looking for a horror movie that is just a cut above the regular slasher offerings. You won’t be disappointed.

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