Movie Reviews, Movie Blog, Film Critic

Ghost Ship (2002)

Directed: Steve Beck  Rated: Runtime: 1h 31m   Studio: Warner Bros. Screenwriters: Mark Hanlon and John Pogue  Cast: Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Gabriel Byrne, Isaiah Washington, Karl Urban, Desmond Harrington, Alex Dimitriades, Emily Browning

Horror/gore films are not my thing. Most rely too much on the gore or over-sexualization of female characters. Few can balance gore and thrills with the needed suspense to make it genuinely gripping. Even worse is when these types of films fall back on overused troupes that make the story predictable and unfun to watch. In 2002, at least Ghost Ship felt original.

Is it the most gripping, suspenseful, and entertainingly intense story of horror films ever made, hardly. It gives off the same vibe regarding storytelling, stunts, and graphics as Resident Evil (2002)the first film based on a video game of the same name. Both also have a cast centered around a female lead. 

In Ghost Ship, Maureen Epps (Margulies) is a member of a salvage ship, the Arctic Warrior. A young man hires the crew to salvage an abandoned cruise liner. Once they find the ship out on the Bering Sea, things take a supernatural turn. 

It’s a ghost ship; throughout the movie, what happened to it is fleshed out via flashbacks. Some people don’t like the use of these in cinema, but it fits in the context of this film. It also adds to the eerie feeling the salvage crew experiences while aboard. While many won’t care for the film stylings of early 2000s films, if you can look beyond that, for the time, it was normal. By today’s standards, it’s either cheesy or terrible. 

Alex Dimitriades, Karl Urban, Ron Eldard, and Julianna Margulies in ‘Ghost Ship’ from Warner Bros. Studios Image: via

Ghost Ship has intrigue, suspense, and believable enough camaraderie amongst the crew, even if none of them are profound. It’s just not that kind of film. Though the techno musical choices were par for the course for the time, it seems odd now. I’m not sure calling this film’ horror’ is accurate. A supernatural thriller with gorey parts, yes. 

Ghost Ship was released in theaters a week before Halloween. If you’re the kind of person who likes to have a Halloween movie marathon, then this film would fit right in. Even if you are not, it’s not so bad a movie that it can’t be watched once, so give it a place on your watchlist. 

-A Pen Lady

Film Critic, Movie Blog, Movie Reviews

A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place (2018)

Directed by: John Krasinski   Screenwriters: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski 

Studio: Paramount Pictures, Platinum Dunes   Rated: PG-13    Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.

Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

We’ve all seen, heard, or read about narratives that involve aliens, zombies, or an apocalyptic hellscape that is Earth after some catastrophe. A Quiet Place is different in so many ways. The audience is tossed right into the story in progress and stays full speed ahead—never stopping to assume the viewer is too daft to understand. 

When aliens land on Earth and hunt anything that makes noise, you’d think the human race was doomed. Yet, life will out! There are always those who survive…that endure. 

Paramount Pictures Australia Final Trailer for ‘A Quiet Place’ via YouTube

The audience is introduced to the Abbott family, parents (Krasinski and Blunt), and their three children. The eldest is deaf, just like the actress who plays her (Simmonds). In a world where you must be silent, I applaud the inclusion of such a character and their perspective! Not only does it help fuel the tension, but it highlights the increased risk to a person who can’t tell what makes a sound or when danger is near.  

In A Quiet Place, you cannot make a sound. “If they hear you, they hunt you” is the tagline for this film and an absolute mantra. The minimal use of sound or speaking creates tension. It sets the tone of the movie immediately, fueling the suspense.  

I love Emily Blunt as an actress, and she is impressive in this film. There is a scene (that I won’t spoil) with her when one of the creatures is in the house that blows my mind. She’s in the process of doing something that would typically involve an enormous amount of noise, and she stays silent. Many viewers can imagine themselves in the same predicament. The magnitude of how the film connects with the audience in this scene is fantastic. 

Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds in Paramount Pictures ‘A Quiet Place’ Image via

Acting with gestures, established signals, and sign language creates an aspect of the Abbott’s environment that the audience recognizes as necessary yet believable in terms of reality for the characters. Moving and responding to something that’s not really there with authentic reactions is always great to see from actors. Now, if the audience can also suppress their urge to scream or yell,…even better!

A Quiet Place is so well-written. It flows from one scene to the next with a pace that is so thrilling and suspenseful, packed with so much detail it’s hard to believe this film is only an hour and a half long. 

The design of the CGI aliens is fantastic, disturbing, and refreshingly original. What sound is heard in the film is exceptionally edited. It enhances the dynamic effect silence plays, created to keep up the suspense of the plot. 

Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, John Krasinski in ‘A Quiet Place’ Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

A Quiet Place unfolds, basically on one set. It’s full of compelling narrative (if silence is narrative!) and drama that leaves you on the edge of your seat and still leaves you wanting more when the credits roll. A movie like this should definitely be on your watchlist.

Ideally, a Quiet Place should be watched in a quiet environment where you won’t be bothered. You can thank me later. 

—a pen lady