That creaking noise you hear in Ghost Ship is the rattling of countless plot skeletons that have sunk before. It?s the sound of bounty hunters tempted by the possibility of riches, confronting the shades of people from the past who were seduced by the ever-same possibility of riches — and died gruesome deaths ages ago for their greed. In the case of this cumbersome tanker of a Halloween ghost story, a strangely grim airplane pilot (Desmond Harrington) recruits a cocky salvage crew composed of the usual saints and sinners (played by Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington, and Ron Eldard, among others) to examine a mystery ship that turns out to be the cadaver of an Italian ocean liner lost at sea in 1962.
A nifty opening scene, all ’60s-glam and ghoulish, makes it wittily clear that 40 years ago something wicked that way went. But once ”Ghost Ship” switches course to the present, when graceless dialogue rules the waves (”This ship is f—ed up!”), director Steve Beck (”Thirteen Ghosts”) never recaptures the eerie pizzazz of the prologue, nor decides how good or evil, dreamy or nightmarish he wants his ”Tales of the Crypt” vessel to be.