Coming from director Shana Betz and Vertical Entertainment comes a story that leaves the passengers nowhere to go when investigating the HAUNTING OF THE MARY CELESTE.
Rachel (Emily Swallow) is on a research mission, to discover what happened to the passengers of the ship Mary Celeste. Haunted by her own beliefs because of a tragedy she still cannot come to grips with, Rachel hires a ship to take them to the last know coordinates of the ship.
The captain hired to take them leaves Rachel, assistants Grant (Dominic DeVore) and Cassandra (Alice Hunter) abandoned on the dock. Seeing another ship, Rachel asks Captain Tulls (Richard Roundtree) if he wants the job. Convincing him with a wad of cash, Tulls and his crewmate Aldo (Pierre Adele) take them all where they want to go.
As they get closer, strange things begin to happen that even the non-believer Captain Tulls cannot ignore, although he does quite well. Rachel believes there is a rift between this world and where the passengers of the Mary Celeste are.
Suddenly the boat ceases to function and Aldo investigates something he hears. Radioing for help, Rachel convinces Tulls that they only have a certain amount of time to prove her theory and that, along with more money keeps them in an ever-growing fog.
Finally, Rachel must come to terms with her past, what she believes and what is happening to everyone on the boat before it is too late for them all!
Swallow as Rachel is having a difficult time with mixing her own tragedy with that of the passengers aboard the Mary Celeste. Along with her equipment, proving the rift is the goal and nothing is going to stop her. Swallow gives us a character that is willing to do anything to finally get the answers to the one question she carries ‘is there a connection between her and the Mary Celeste’?
Roundtree as Tulls is a straightforward, no bull kind of sea captain. Convincing him to take the job seemed difficult, but a wad of cash can make even a grumpy captain take notice. He does not believe in the rift or in what Rachel is doing but a job is a job – until it isn’t. It is nice to see Roundtree on screen again and in a film that gives him both gruffness and shock carrying his role well.
DeVore as Grant believes in what Rachel is doing but I suspect there is more than a researcher’s mode in this. Following the trail along with Rachel, he does believe but there is a difference between believing a thing and seeing for one’s self. Hunter as Cassandra is just a piece of work pure and simple. She does not seem to be along for the true research but more for class credit. Adele as Aldo is not happy about this job from the get-go, with plenty of reason to be.
Vertical Entertainment is a global independent distributor that offers a unique wealth of experience minus the studio costs. They have won a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for Molly Shannon’s role in OTHER PEOPLE and the film won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Film Limited Release, Best International Film for Babak Anvari’s UNDER THE SHADOW, a BAFTA and three Independent British Independent film Awards as well.
In December 1872, the vessel Mary Celeste captained by Benjamin Briggs never arrived at its destination in Italy. Captain Morehouse of the Dei Gratia boarded the ship only to discover charts thrown around, the crew’s quarters intact, a pump disassembled, one lifeboat missing and all cargo along with supplies still intact. Thus, began a mystery that still is with us today.
Which brings us to HAUNTING OF THE MARY CELESTE and the opportunity to suggest the rift theory. Director Betz takes us into a realm of fog, disbelief, strange happenings and what could happen between this world and the rift.
This is the kind of film that I love in this genre. It is not full of gore but instead spooks, twists, creaking, fog and sounds from the ‘other side’ as it were. The story being told is best seen in a dark room with a sound bar attached to your television to get the awesome creepy affect. Did I mention a tub of popcorn would be an added bonus? Well, it would because the yarn being woven for us is tub worthy.
In the end – fear lies beneath!