Lost Voyage – “After 30 years in the Bermuda Triangle… a GHOST SHIP returns”
And we’re back, with a look at another movie about a ship haunted by ghosts. I’m not really sure why, but it does seem to be the case that people like making movies about haunted ships – Lost Voyage, Ghost Voyage, and of course Ghost Ship (though it should be mentioned here that, of these three, Lost Voyage is the first released).
The movie opens with the father and stepmother of Aaron Roberts (Judd Nelson, Suddenly Susan, The Breakfast Club) boarding the Corona Queen for their honeymoon. The ship gets lost in a mysterious storm while navigating the Bermuda Triangle, and all aboard are killed. Jump ahead 25 years, and Aaron is working at an institute investigating paranormal phenomena (with science!) when he gets informed about the reappearance of the Corona Queen. Meanwhile, Dana Elway (Janet Gunn, Silk Stalkings, Dark Justice), a reporter for a tabloid television station, needs to save her career somehow and latches onto the return of the Corona Queen to do so. She hires a salvage team to take her to the ship, convincing Aaron to join her for her story. As expected by all the viewers, the group proceeds to get killed off one by one as they struggle to survive and escape the ship.
Left – Aaron; right – Dana
Normally, here is where I talk about the bad acting, bad CGI, bad script, etc. But something strange happened with this movie – it wasn’t awful. The acting had its weak moments, of course, but overall was quite solid (Mark Sheppard’s in it, after all). The writing had its flaws, but nowhere stood out as stilted, lazy, or distracting. And the effects, while pretty standard Sci-Fi Channel CGI, were sparing enough and quality enough to add to the atmosphere, though the ghosts at the end of the movie fell into two distinct categories of “acceptable” and “why did you waste money on that?”. However, overall, this movie served as a beacon of mediocrity floating in the sea of boring garbage that characterizes many Sci-Fi Channel movies.
Left – not the worst ghost ever; right – the alternative
As with last week’s Ghost Voyage, Lost Voyage was not the kind of movie that lends itself to much science critique, nor did it really have much in the way of philosophical or religious allegory. But there are a few general comments to make, as always.
First of all, the cinematography in this movie was itself better than much of what Sci-Fi Channel has to offer. The style of the opening, which took place in the ‘70s, was reminiscent of television shows filmed during that era, and transitioned more or less seamlessly into a more modern, familiar style for the parts taking place in the present. The CGI was spottier, with some elements, such as an otherworldly storm front, blending in quite well; other parts, such as some of the ghosts and one scene where the cameraman in the group gets turned into dust, stood out as particularly campy.
From the opening scene…
…and the gateway to Hell (maybe)
Then there are some things that don’t make much sense. For instance, Aaron works for an institute investigating paranormal phenomena, but his obsession with the Bermuda Triangle gets labeled as far-fetched and too out-there for other members of the institute to respect. There’s also a moment where the pilot of the helicopter that delivers the group to the ship says he can’t stay long because of the wind, but the next shot of the ship reveals apparently calm seas all around, despite the driving rain.
The wind is too strong; can’t you tell?
This movie also addresses one of the greatest clichés in horror movie history, that of people wandering off on their own despite members of the group going missing or being found dead. For instance, Dana’s rival television host Julie Largo (Scarlett Chorvat, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Freedom) decides that it’s a good idea to go try to get the story for herself, by herself, not only ignoring the fact that two people have already been killed, but also that the television cameras they brought have captured footage of a ghost. So she knows that the ship has otherworldly entities on it, and that two people have met horrible ends, but she decides to go solo anyways, and naturally suffers a grisly fate for it.
Grisly fate, before and after
On a side note, this movie did a good job of building the tension and the atmosphere, but sadly, it shied away from going all out and really trying to make this movie frightening. The place where this is most obvious is when Julie goes off on her own. She opens a door and enters a surreal dreamlike scene where she’s back at the network being offered Dana’s job. Except that, before the movie can capitalize on the tension created by this vision, we get a long shot of her standing in a hold on the ship, the door closes quickly, and then she screams, without us actually seeing what it is that kills her, nor how she dies.
This is also the closest this movie gets to having a religious connection. Aaron talks at one point about the possibility of the Triangle being a portal or gateway to another realm, maybe Hell, maybe something else entirely. Then, during Julie’s vision, her boss pushes her to sign a contract, promising that once she does, all her dreams will come true; though, as we all predicted, once she signs it, she dies. This would have been the perfect time to have her boss turn into the Devil or something along those lines, as the movie is clearly hinting that that’s who it is offering her the contract; but it stops short of going that far, thereby missing a good opportunity to add horror.
The man who would be Satan
Lost Voyage perpetuates the idea that ghosts are always enraged and homicidal, but that’s to be expected. What wasn’t expected was for it to be written, directed, and edited by the same man, a fact which naturally brings to mind the wonder and artistic masterpiece created by Tommy Wiseau. Yes, I’m talking about The Room, and for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, get a bunch of your friends together right now and go watch it.
Tommy Wiseau wills it so!
That’s it for Lost Voyage. Keep an eye out for ghost sharks – no reason they need to stay in the water!