Having picked up a second hand copy of the VHS some years back, I have been eager for the film to be released on DVD, and now it has arrived I am impressed.
Nearly two decades previous to the copycat 'Ghost Ship' (compare the cover art for the two films and you'll spot the similarities straight away!) the film still stands up as an unnerving atmospheric chiller, with weird camera angles, zoom shots of the empty ship and an atmosphere of impending doom throughout. The gore is quite tame when compared to many modern horrors, but inventive and original for the 1980's.
The plot is pretty basic.The survivors of a sunken cruise liner board the 'Death Ship' desperate for sanctuary, what they get of course, is another thing altogether, and let's just say not many make it out alive.
The dark, dirty waters surrounding the ship, and the empty, long corridors of the vessel give the film an instant 'grubby' feel, you know from the outset something is not quite right, it oozes atmosphere from the start.
The DVD itself is exceptional, not the sort of cult film you'd expect to get the full extras treatment, but it does. Deleted scenes, commentary and 45 minute documentary tell you much more than you'll ever need to know about the film, coupled with three theatrical trailers and previews for other titles.
Picture quality is a vast improvement on the VHS version. The sleeve boasts a high bit rate for exceptional picture quality, which is perhaps a slight exaggeration. Occasional print damage and grain is evident, but considering this was sourced from the only surviving 35mm film print (as the original negatives are lost) it is perfectly acceptable, and certainly better than most low-budget cult horrors that get released these days on obscure DVD labels.
Overall, if you are a fan of the film this is a welcome release after the lack of Video/TV showings over the years, with enough extras to ensure satisfaction.