Lionsgate // 2007 // 80 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 19th, 2007
"Kick...some pirate booty."
Yes that's actually a line from this movie.
Six idiot friends wake up on a deserted island with no memory of how they got there. There had been a party, with drinking and then everyone passed out and came to on a beach in the middle of the Caribbean.
As they struggle to figure out what happened, one of the girls, a plucky brunette named Sara (Melissa Powell) starts having visions that hearken back to the pre-title sequence where we saw a gang of pirates from the 17th century fart around a cave on the very same island -- Fish-Kill Island (really) -- looking for treasure before bad special effects zaps them all in the head.
Now, in the present day, they have returned, and Sara and her pals (and the Hardy Boys?) are forced into a battle of survival against ghost pirates, demons, a short Jewish guy with glasses made up to look like a Japanese soldier, a native with a rapid-fire blowgun and crippling acting skills.
This may not be a fair conclusion, but when the opening title card sequence features a grammatical error, it usually foreshadows a rough bit of movie-watching to come. With Pirates of Ghost Island this is the case and then some. Folks, this is a movie-going experience that has the ability to tear a whole in the space-time continuum with its awfulness. Failing at just about ever level of filmmaking, save for "at least the cameras didn't catch fire," this pirate saga represents 80 minutes of my life that would have been more fruitfully spent committing identity theft.
The acting is about the worst I've ever seen. Our protagonists are uniformly bad, but even their inability can't measure up to the colon-cleansing horror that is the performances from the actors playing the pirates. Jeez, if these guys are even partially indicative of what real pirates were like then history is full of @#$%. Granted, the actors are given lines like "Aye, me saucy wench!" and "Best be keeping our heads mateys!" and "You'll join our merry band of looters or rot in chains!" but their over-exuberance in barking out this drivel makes them as fearsome as The Wiggles.
I guess this is a horror movie because of a smattering of low-key bloodshed, but to label it a thriller instantly undermines the word "thriller." Never has 80 minutes felt so long as the entirety of the picture has the kids wandering around the beach, getting offed one by one in increasingly moronic ways, engaging with the pirates in back-and-forth dialogue that would propel a Sunday School teacher to commit seppuku, and trying to get to the bottom of a mystery that you'll cease caring about before the number 00:04 shows up on your tiny DVD player digital readout. About the kills: we've got one guy getting pelted with a series of blow-darts in the neck that instantly induces oatmeal vomiting, a girl wanders into a tree and is slapped around by some branches, another guy takes a sword in the gut off-screen and a pirate lass is impaled with a spear thrown at a whopping four miles per hour.
Look, there are only two redeeming things about this movie: 1) it gave some people who are probably nice in real life the chance to screw around on a beach with some fake blood and fake swords and perhaps make enough money for a White Castle burger and 2) it allows you to make fun of them for 80 minutes.
The mediocre DVD presentation is about what I expect for a film of this caliber: a shoe-string-budget-looking fake widescreen (1.78:1 non-anamorphic) video transfer and a shallow 2.0 stereo mix and no extras except for a trailer.
Arrrrrrrrrrre you stupid enough to watch this? I was.
Maroon this one and never look back.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R