Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Lost Voyage' should stay lost

Lost Voyage (2001)
Starring: Judd Nelson, Janet Gunn, Scarlett Chorvat, and Lance Henrickson
Director: Christian McIntire
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

In "Lost Voyage", a cruise ship that mysteriously dissapeared in the Bermuda Triangle over 25 years ago just as mysteriously reappears in perfect condition, but seemingly completely devoid of life.

Television tabloid reporter Dana Elway (Gunn) convinces paranormal investigator Aaron Roberts (Nelson) to join her and a camera crew on a salvage expedition headed by the sinister David Shaw (Henrickson). Everyone on the expedition has hidden agendas and dark secrets, but whatever caused the ship to both vanish and reappear is still onboard, and that mysterious presence starts to exploit these secrets, destroying the expedition members one by one.

"Lost Voyage" follows the pattern of countless haunted house movies, adding no twist other than placing the action onboard an abandoned cruise ship. That doesn't necessarily make it a bad movie, just average. There are other factors that insure its low rating.

While the actors turn in fairly decent performances (Gunn and her sharkish, slutty assistant that is after her job, Scarlet Chorvat, are particularly good), but they are hampered by a script that is so full of characters doing stupid things because the plot would fall apart if they didn't that is was impossible to keep count. This is either the laziest haunted house script produced since the turn of the century, or it was actually a tale of people so dumb they deserved to die just to preserve the integrity of the human genepool.

An even greater flaw in the film is the digital effects. The film takes place aboard a ship adrift in a storm. The characters are delivered to it by a cargo helicopter. The ship, the waves, and particularly the helicopter are so badly done that one finds oneself longing for the days when models would have been used for those shots. Even the cheapest B-movies with their planes dangling oddly on wires looked more real that the computer animated helicopter in "Lost Voyage." The obvious fakeness of the establishing shots of the ship, and just about any other digital effect in the movie, drag it down something fierce. (Although, while harping on the digital effects, I have to congratulate the sound crew. There is a very impressive use of sound throughout, especially wind and rain effects. The lighting crew also does a decent job, with many scenes appearing to be lit realistically with ambient lighting. These exceptional technical aspects don't make up for the film's other problems, however.

Despite some nice (if pedestrian) chills, I think even the biggest fans of haunted house movies will walk away dissapointed from this one. It's better if "Lost Voyage" stays missing.

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