Ghost Ship’s Opening Sequence Is Unforgettable

Ghost Ship’s Opening Sequence Is Unforgettable
Ghost Ship’s Opening Sequence Is Unforgettable

Some of the most iconic horror films come with a strong opening that demands your attention. Scream’s opening with Casey Becker is referenced until this very day. Final Destination 2‘s car accident calamity still gives people nightmares. Audiences seeing Chrissie being terrorized (and then eaten) by the Great White Shark in Jaws put them on the edge of their seats. The purpose of the opening is to prepare audiences for what’s to come.

Though, sometimes the opening can be the best part of any film. Take Ghost Ship. Critics destroyed the Dark Castle feature. Though there’s a fondness amongst horror fans who particularly think the film isn’t all that bad. In truth, Ghost Ship is far from the worse horror film you’ll ever see. There are genuinely good ideas within this feature. The notion that there’s a demented soul out there searching for innocent victims is a compelling premise for a horror film.

Ghost Ship Had Flashes Of Brilliance

Ghost Ship’s Opening Sequence Is Unforgettable

Originally, the first pitch for Ghost Ship was The Shining on a boat. That’s actually a great idea! Julianna Margulies has discussed how she signed up for a different script. However, executives intervened and turned the feature into a supernatural slasher. According to Steve Beck, after 9/11, they wanted the film to be a definite good vs. evil fight instead of the ambiguous script that preceded it.

There are flashes of brilliance in Ghost Ship. However, the film is stupid more often than not. It still boggles the mind why a married man would cheat on his wife with a ghost. Nevertheless, the story of Ghost Ship isn’t bad (very convoluted, though), and the opening of said film sets the tone for something very promising.

It’s A Haunting and Traumatic Sequence

Ghost Ship’s Opening Sequence Is Unforgettable

It’s a very simple setting: a cruise ship with dozens of people dancing and smiling away. That all changes due to a faulty barbed wire that slices through everyone on the dance floor. The effects of this were actually quite good here. It came out in 2002, so it’s quite obvious that allows for CGI. Still, this was an extremely haunting moment that was well-directed. Beck masterfully gives off the key factors that would play an important role later in the film. The biggest one is Katie (Emily Browning), who represents innocence and a shining light that plays a major factor throughout Ghost Ship.

The beginning sets up an intriguing question that’s clumsily answered in the climax: Why were these innocent civilians murdered like shredded cheese? All the pieces of the puzzle for a strong mystery/thriller were there. Of course, we can’t forget about the dismemberment of the passengers. This goes back to the excellent direction. The sequence is cleverly shot that showcases the wire slicing through everything like butter.

However, it isn’t quite clear until blood drips down one of the crew member’s shoes. The slow reveal of everyone being sliced in half is horrifying and jaw-dropping. Watching a woman console her severed torso and a man desperately crawling without his legs is disturbing and skin crawling.

The Acting Is Quite Strong

Ghost Ship’s Opening Sequence Is Unforgettable

Horror films weren’t particularly known for quality acting around this time. Though Julianna Margulies, Karl Urban, Isaiah Washington, and Gabriel Bryne were the main cast for this film. So, Ghost Ship had quality performers on its roster. However, the sudden shift in the opening from a relaxed and beautiful moment to a traumatic crime scene only emphasizes the potential this feature had.

The reactions feel organic, and surprisingly, none of it is over-the-top. The horror written on everyone’s face tells the entire situation brilliantly. Despite the huge amount of gore, the scene isn’t focused on the gruesome aspects of it. The focus is on the character’s reaction, making it a thousand times more effective because it allows us to connect with these people even more. Say what you will about Ghost Ship. It has an opening that rivals some of the best horror movies in the world.

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