Ghost Rig (2003)

Ghost Rig (2003)

Evil has found a new home

A team of environmentalists land on a remote oil rig in order to prevent it from being mothballed and demolished into the sea bed. They find the rig empty, even the maintenance crew who kept it running safely are nowhere to be found. But they also discover something far more sinister aboard.

 

British horror is seeing something of a revival over recent years and whether you like the films or not, it doesn’t really matter because what matters is that they are getting made after the industry’s virtual death in the 80s. Lighthouse, Long Time Dead, The Bunker, Dog Soldiers, 28 Days Later, Severance, The Cottage, Shaun of the Dead and many others have been made on these shores since the late 90s and the list keeps going on. You can now add Ghost Rig to that list, although it doesn’t really belong in the same company of the majority of those listed. Originally released in 2001 under the highly-random The Devil’s Tattoo moniker, the film has since been re-branded and re-released, no doubt to cash in on Ghost Ship. I prefer the re-titling to be perfectly frank as it’s less pretentious and more accurate about what the film is about. But under either name, the bottom line is the film isn’t very good.

Ghost Rig looks pretty cheap from the start and you can tell you’re in for a low budget ride by the use of digital video – it doesn’t look overly great when used in low brow productions like this. Given a better budget, the film would have looked a lot crisper and more polished from a technical standpoint. The sets are sparse and the oil rig setting isn’t really used to its full potential, for instance like the Alaskan base was in The Thing, a similar kind of film to which this film clearly models itself upon. Perhaps the budget wouldn’t stretch that far to allow some ‘bigger scope’ shots but it would have been good to give it more of an impressive scale instead of believing that this cast of characters are shuffling around the same couple of sets for the entire running time.

But whilst the limited sets may provide some atmosphere and eeriness, there’s not a great done with it. The possession plot could have been done so much better too but instead, surprise, surprise, we get another body swapping film in which different characters become possessed by the entity on the rig. It’s just an excuse for the actors to act ‘tough and a little crazy’ for a bit when they become possessed and it’s also a cheap way out of showing us the entity in its original form, even a spectre or something would have sufficed. I have a real hatred for body swapping films like this because in my opinion, it just shows a total lack of creativity to have one actor be a good guy one moment then become possessed and act evil the next.

Another problem in doing that type of film is that you have to have characters that you care about in the first place before they’re possessed and make sure that they aren’t just assholes most of the time. Unfortunately, the characters here aren’t likeable at all and they are always bitching and moaning at each other before they become possessed. So it’s sometimes hard to tell what is going on when one of them does turn as there’s little change in their character. They’re all eco-warriors but it seems like the usual array of cardboard characters has been wheeled out to place on board the oil rig. It doesn’t help that the script just has them wandering around the oil rig and then, later on, running around the rig without any real purpose. The repetition of the same sequence of events soon leaves the film going around in circles.

 

I’m not a big fan of Ghost Rig. It’s repetitive, boring at that, conjures up little in the way of excitement and doesn’t really get you invested in the film. There was potential and I can appreciate the psychological approach over the straight-out gore but films can’t really live off potential and it needs fulfilling at some point. The decent atmosphere and mood on board the oil rig is wasted with a lack of ideas on what to do with it.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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