The Ghost Ship

The Ghost Ship ★★★★

Again - Val Lewton and Mark Robson bring another early entry to the Psychological thriller genre. Despite the title - this film has nothing to do with LITERAL ghosts- instead focusing on the plagued mind of a mentally unstable and sinister man of power - and the unquestionable authority of men with power.

A fresh marine crewman named Tom (played by Russel Wade) takes on a position on the Altair - a merchant marine vessel captained by Will Stone (the terrifying Richard Dix). Once on board- Tom learns of mysterious deaths that have plagued the ship over the past few months- leading the seasoned crew to think that the ship is haunted and cursed. When a crew member comes down with appendicitis - it is up to the captain and Tom to perform the surgery - guided by radio instructions. The Captain, however cannot seem to complete the task - so Tom takes over and successfully completes the surgery. This causes tension between the obviously disturbed captain and Tom - causing him to fear for his life as more mysterious deaths happen aboard the ship. What follows is a game of mental Cat and Mouse - leading Tom to become the main suspect of an ever loyal crew to the captain- who is falling deeper into murderous madness.

This is a slow burn of a psychological thriller - building the tension murder by murder - never fully revealing the true insanity of Richard Dix character until the third act goes into full swing. The film is beautifully shot - giving us a real good look at the weather worn faces of the sailors in the moody black and white photography of the ships decks. An excellent little thriller to add to your watchlist - check it out!