Haunting of the Queen Mary is a 2023 British horror film written by Tom Vaughan (Winchester) and Stephen Oliver, who writes the screenplay alongside Gary Shore (Dracula Untold), who also directs.
It is available in the UK on Digital Platforms from 9th October 2023, courtesy of Vertigo Releasing.
“She had character, she had personality, but above all else she was the closest thing to a living being that I ever commanded…She even breathed.”
-Captain John Treasure Jones
It’s 1938 and aboard The Queen Mary something is afoot. David Ratch (Wil Coban – Waiting for the Barbarians) a third class passenger, has decided his family should eat in first class and enjoy the Halloween ball. Along with his wife Gwen (Nell Hudson – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)) and daughter Jackie (Florrie Wilkinson – Jungle Beat: The Movie), they con their way into the restaurant in Halloween costumes. They are in such fine company as Fred Astaire (Wesley Alfvin – Hail, Caesar!) and head hunter Victor (Angus Wright – Bank of Dave).
Things take a sinister turn when they are found out and David encounters something which changes the voyage for everyone. At the same time, a problem is developing with the engines and Captain Caradine (Jim Piddock – Kill Your Friends, 1915) is forced to make some difficult decisions.
Present day and the Queen Mary is now used as a floating museum, part of a water recreation development and popular tourist destination, with it’s haunted tours. Author Patrick (Joel Fry – Yesterday, Cruella) has decided to write a book about the architecture of the ship and estranged wife Anne (Alice Eve – Star Trek Into Darkness) is coming to meet him there, in the hopes of rekindling their relationship by doing a project together.
She is bringing their son Lukas (Lenny Rush – The Dumping Ground (TV series)), who is far more interested in the ghostly heritage than the architecture. They are met by Bittner (Dorian Lough – The Duke, Brimstone), who agrees to help, but when Lukas gets lost on a tour, it sets in motion a chain of events forever linking them to that fateful night in 1938.
“For 31 years, the Queen Mary served as a majestic city of the sea. Now she’s dropped anchor for the final time, closing out a career unequalled in the history of commercial sea voyaging.”
Haunting of the Queen Mary is an enjoyable, if confusing, watch. It’s a great idea for a story, but it feels as if they got over excited and let it get away from them. The way it bounces around between timelines is baffling to say the least and although I can see what they were attempting to do, it all just ends up a bit muddled.
Also in question are the motives of almost everyone involved, none of their reasoning makes any sense at all. What does stand out however is the acting, everyone puts in brilliant performances, really lifting the whole thing.
The settings are also very good, evoking a feeling of sailing on the high seas with lots of lavish costumes and even a fantastic period dance routine courtesy of Fred Astaire (fun but not really relevant to the film). The horror is good, there is plenty of blood and one genuinely brilliant jump scare.
There’s no shortage of enthusiasm here and while it does have it’s issues, this film is certainly well worth a watch.
“You know we’re pretty used to stories around here. I mean, people have said we’re a doorway for the dead. And although we’re famous for our fiction, sometimes facts can be much stranger.”
Vertigo Releasing presents HAUNTING OF THE QUEEN MARY on digital platforms 9th October 2023
|Starring||Alice Eve, Joel Fry, Florrie May Wilkinson, Wil Coban|