Character of the Month: Tom (no last names, please!) in "Ghost Rig" - Jamie Bamber News
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Character of the Month: Tom (no last names, please!) in "Ghost Rig"

(NOTE: I originally planned to cap the film in a more complete way, but I got fed up trying to get good shots because 90% of the film is pitch frigging dark. So you're basically getting the good Jamie shots, with occasional bonus Kerry. I doubt anyone will take me to task for that. ;) )

Title: Ghost Rig (aka The Devil's Tattoo)
Release Date: July 2003 (US, DVD); September 2003 (UK)
Availability: On DVD

Synopsis: Ghost Rig is ostensibly a horror film.  It's got problems.  Problem #1, it's just not that scary.  Problem #2, the script is utilitarian at best and ham-fisted at worst.  And Problem #3, it does not end with Jamie Bamber and Kerry Norton destroying a demonic entity, exploding an oil rig in a shower of flames and schrapnel, kissing passionately and then sailing to safety with enormous shit-eating grins of "YEAAAH, EAT THAT, EVIL!" plastered across their faces. Ah, well, if you're going to appear in a tepid horror movie, a) make sure you get to play the most sympathetic characters, and b) remember, it's easier not to regret it in the long run if you gain a spouse in the process. Love = 1, bad career moves = 0.

Worth Watching? Despite its pervasive mediocrity, I'd say yes; it's a rare chance to see Jamie and Kerry act together (they didn't have many scenes together, if any, on BSG) and there are actually one or two pretty decent moments.

Does he live or die? I'm going to be mean and make you read the recap to find out, but consider this - horror movie characters have the deck stacked against them to begin with, and given poor Jamie's track record of surviving on screen, make of that what you will. ;)

A helicopter lands on a battered oil rig scheduled to be toppled just off the coast of Scotland. Inside are a group of Greenpeace-esque crusaders who have come to seize control of the rig - acting as human shields to prevent them from sinking it - in a show of anti-corporate, pro-environmental strength. Little do they know the "horrors" that await... (And the movie's called Ghost Rig, which isn't entirely accurate either - it's not a ghost, the original title The Devil's Tattoo was more appropriate, sorta - but suffice to say the "horrors" have little to do with actual horrors like, oh I don't know, underwater plumes and globs of oil washing up on shore and choking off wildlife. That'd be really scary, wouldn't it? :P )

Most of the crew are pretty gung ho and subsequently rather irritating; leader Vincent and his sour-faced girl Friday, Iona, in particular are fairly begging for death from the minute they open their mouths.  Others aren't so bad, though: there's Crawford who used to work on the rig, is in a wheelchair and seems to be a bit more gentle and rational.  There's Annie (Kerry), who seems focused on the mission but not at all bossy or full of herself like the others.  And there's Tom (Jamie), who sort of just seems along for the ride which couldn't possibly mean he's got an alternative agenda or anything. Right? Plus, he's kind of dreamy so no one minds him just hanging around. Yet.

Maintenence crew they were expecting to meet are nowhere to be found. They disperse and start to explore the rig, and through a series of darkly lit jump cuts and "ooh, spooky!" music cues, it quickly becomes apparent that "something" is on the rig with them. It first presents itself in the form of a rat (?!) who bites Eric, the big guy, and this initiates the spread of OMFG EVIL which will gradually infect most of the crew. (Interesting side note: Eric is played by Scottish actor Rory McCann, who's been in a bunch of other much better stuff but most notably played Michael Armstrong aka Lurch, the inbred goon in Hot Fuzz. When I realized it was him, I let out a big "YARRRRP!" and had a good, hard giggle. I'd recommend this, it takes your mind off the WTF for a moment or two.) Anyway, he suffocates one of the others. I can't remember which one, a few of them are quite... samey.

But then Samey #1 walks into the lounge right behind Tom. Uh, WHUT?! The crew continue to plot. Vincent re-records their mission statement. Tom's manning the camera and he looks foxy in headphones.   Crawford finds Eric's body, they presume that he died of a heart attack and are pretty willing to just stick him on a slab and move on... except for Tom, who thinks it'd be pretty stupid to continue when one of them is dead and suggests they call back the chopper. Because he's awesome, and beautiful, and CLEARLY should be in charge. (Annie seems reluctant to speak up at this point, but we're pretty sure she agrees. On all counts. ;) )

While Vincent reveals to the rest that he's been withholding information from them about a possible quarantine on the rig (Way to earn your crew's trust, dumbass!), Tom takes the initiative and sneaks into the radio room... but he's not hailing the chopper. He's contacting his handlers and reporting on the status of the mission because OMFG, HE'S AN ARMY DOUBLE AGENT. Badass. (Honestly, I'm pretty liberal, it's not likely you'll ever hear me cheering on the military complex to crush the hopes and dreams of green-loving environmentalists, but in this case... hell yeah, shut these idiots DOWN, sexy soldier boy!)  The radio signal's dodgy, though, and the others spot Tom on the CCTV and stop him before he can get the word out. As if we didn't hate her enough already, Iona punches him in the groin. Tom entreats her to get her nose out of Vincent's arse for one second, which as though we didn't love him enough already, makes him full of 100% WIN. (And earns him another gut-punch. Ouch.)

Vincent - who thinks having a murder on board will be great for media attention, making him the biggest douchebag EVER -  broke up the melee by firing a gun, which means Annie and Crawford are now pissed at him for breaking their agreement of no weapons on the mission. And more likely to side with Tom as the shit continues to hit the fan, though they're also angry at him for deceiving them. (Which Tom does feel bad about. He apologizes to Annie in particular. Aww, she's pretty huh, soldier boy? ;) ) Most of them assume that Tom killed Eric, but he insists he's innocent and he and Crawford have a little heart-to-heart about their military experiences. While Tom is tied up. Everyone with bondage kinks, enjoy it while it lasts because Samey #1 is suddenly smashing the radio and Tom gets Crawford to let him loose to stop it.

They find Samey #1's body, everyone still thinks Tom's guilty (even Annie now, who saw him loose before they found the corpse). They bicker. They roll their eyes at each other.  It's a little monotonous... okay, a LOT monotonous. Through all this, Tom is still the most rational, figuring the quarantine/virus rumor is bullshit and something much different is going on. They study the bodies in the morgue and Tom takes his sweater off, because he knows that to get through the rest of this movie we really need to see his lovely arms in that red t-shirt. At some point, Samey #1 got to Samey #2, who later goes all Jack Torrance with an ax while Annie tries to hide (One of the few truly effective creepy bits, actually.)

And then Tom finds Samey #2 gnawing on his girlfriend, Medic With Braids, and it's pretty gnarly, especially when her wound heals in seconds and she gets the Token Demonic Voice which would be a lot creepier if it wasn't so cliché. She shouts for help to pin the death on Tom before escaping, the rest come running and Tom gets arsey Vincent in a headlock which is RAD. Annie diffuses the situation with a camcorder she pulled out of a locked room, and they decide it might offer clues.

The remaining crew watch the video in the lounge; it seems to indicate some evil entity began taking over the rig's crew one by one, leaving one dude to record and leave behind a warning. Oh, and the weird chalk circle with candles around it in the loading bay will somehow protect them. Maybe. It's not very well explained.  Tom fully steps up and takes charge (woo!) and he and Annie try radioing for help again (And right about here is where I start longing for the two of them to be in a much better stranded-at-sea thriller. Can you imagine them with proper roles, like Bud & Lindsay Brigman in The Abyss? Sassing each other and falling in love again? They'd ROCK IT. Oh, Bamber/Norton/Griffiths. This punk-ass movie doesn't deserve you.) Anyway, meanwhile, Vincent and Iona are still idiots and they take off to get PWNED by Medic With Braids' not-dead-yet corpse.

Worried about their chances at sea, Team Sensible decide to find the Really Useful Book of Dispelling Evil that the video mentioned, left behind in the Creepy Chalk Circle. It's pinned under a big anvil (or something) hung by a chain, which means Tom gets to flex his guns lifting it. (I'd be lying if I didn't say that's my favorite shot in the movie, too.) Vincent and Iona both show up each claiming the other's possessed, and they force them to do a little hokey-pokey dance in and out of the circle to prove they're OK, during which Iona stabs Vincent in the back (about half an hour too late for my taste) and warns them it's a matter of time till she gets them all. Told you, someone should have thrown her overboard LONG ago.

Team Sensible tries to devise yet another plan, Iona is spying on them via a headset she left running in the radio room, and I'm getting really sick of trying to screencap a movie so darkly and badly lit. (I'm all for realism, I'm sure it's supposed to be dark, but COME ON!) Tom continues to rule and realizes that Iona's listening, so he lies that he managed to contact his handlers and help is on the way; meanwhile, he and the rest forage for life vests and weapons. Crawford insists he's a liability and they should leave him behind, but Tom's having none of it because he's way too heroic for that shit. You might be inclined to think his awesomeness will get eventually him into trouble in a situation this frakked up. *ahem* Anyway, Annie and Mole (the bald, paranoid one that I should have mentioned earlier... OH WELL) get separated and Iona gets to one of them, but Tom and Crawford aren't sure who when they return. (We know. Hint: It's not the pretty one.)

Now unsure who to trust, Tom strikes a badass pose with his makeshift Lord of the Flies spears and insists that the only way to find out is to cut each of them; whoever heals is the Demon Seed. Crawford sees Mole tapping his fingers and realizes he's infected (how he knows that's the giveaway, we aren't told...) and he tells Annie he'll fake cutting her because he knows she's alright. She agrees. Tom cuts Mole. They wait. He demands to see Annie's cut, and she protests insisting Crawford told her he didn't have to. Confusion ensues. Including us, because when did Crawford start acting like such a dick?! We thought he was COOL, man!... 

And now, I pause to throw the rest of the recap behind a white text... just in case any of you might actually want to watch this sucker and not have the ending spoiled. Mouse over & highlight the gap below to read it. (There's a twist, though it's kind of lame but hey, beggars can't be choosers sometimes):

[start spoiler] Turns out Crawford is eeeevil - he used to work on the rig, remember?  And presumably he WANTS to be infected because he maniuplates Tom into stabbing Annie out of fear (NOOOO! Actually, I'd love to hear the conversation Jamie and Kerry have with their girls some day - "Yes, Daddy and I made a film where he brutally murdered me. It was such a relief, we couldn't wait to get off that set and go on a proper date!" XD) Demon Mole stabs Tom, who hangs in there long enough to watch Crawford tempt Mole to come closer and let him be possessed... when Tom tries to protest, Crawford pulls out Vincent's gun and shoots him. Oh, soldier boy... we had so much faith in you. *sob* And then Crawford gets possessed again and leaves the rig in a lifeboat... presumably because he wanted  the use of his legs back, he walks onto shore in the last shot.  I don't know, even if I were a paraplegic that's kind of a last resort, I'd hold out for a miracle surgery before making a pact with the Devil. But that's just me. [end spoiler]


I can't say Ghost Rig is first rate entertainment, kiddies, but at the very least Jamie and Kerry acquit themselves admirably despite the circumstances, and they're both adorable. And now married with three beautiful children, so evil (whether in the form of demonic possession or "meh" movies) still got a boot in the ass in the end. HA! If you can't find a rental there are a few hundred 99 cent copies available on most of the time. And if you have DirecTV, it turns up on Chiller once in a while, so you might as well set the DVR.

And now, BONUS PRETTY, because I love you all just that much ;)

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18 comments or Leave a comment
ofraindrops From: ofraindrops Date: June 13th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I will read this once I finished staring at THOSE BICEPS!! *__*
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 13th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I may have taken more screen caps of the heavy lifting scene than was entirely necessary.

May have. ;)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 13th, 2010 09:43 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I was told it would be awful (and Jamie said so himself at a con), so I was positively surprised.
Sure it wasn't great and the production values were quite low, but I think if they were higher it could hold up with the mediocre horror movies hollywood produces that have the same sort of claustrophobic dark setting.

It could have definately been scarier, but I quite like the ending, Jamie looks very fit and Tom and Annie flirting was adorable (especially knowing that they're just getting to know each other in RL).
I have to say thoug it was a stupid move on Annie's behalf not having they guy cut you...
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 13th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I have to say thoug it was a stupid move on Annie's behalf not having they guy cut you...

I know. *sigh* Silly girl! Truthfully, tho, if it had been anyone other than Crawford (even Tom, though they've built up a trust) I'd say she'd be even sillier, but they do a fair job of establishing that Annie really trusts Crawford, because of his accident and his committing to their cause, etc. It's at least plausible she'd go along with him simply because of that history, she's got no idea they're all being used.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 13th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Yeah I guess it's plausible that she'd just go along with a friend.
Nevertheless it's been a while since I've seen it, but I think Tom does explain that he wants to see the wound. So she could have made the connection that it would weird if she didn't have one...

Not the smartest move but, yeah, it's not my main problem with the film.
Great write up btw!
jamie_girl5 From: jamie_girl5 Date: June 13th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Not one of his great movie but it's nice to see him...he still shows us his great talent of actors *blush*...and we have Jamie and Kerry first time together in a movie *winks* and we know how these two end up *winks*
asta77 From: asta77 Date: June 13th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Awesome Recap! And Bamcaps! I've sat through the movie more than once so it's not that bad. I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning because Matt Bomer stars in it and while the production values are much better and the story and acting (overall) much better, I can NEVER watch it again because the violence is so horrific. It actually made me sick. Um, my point (other than the gratuitous Bomer mention ;) is I prefer horror films that don't go for the gore and opt for old school stabbings and shootings. :)

Ghost Rig is one of the first Jamie projects I watched after discovering him in BSG. I knew Kerry was in it, but didn't know what she looked like or which character she played. So I had to wait until the closing credits to find out who Kerry had been playing. My reaction? "Thank God, she's the one who can act!" ;-)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 13th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Um, my point (other than the gratuitous Bomer mention ;) is I prefer horror films that don't go for the gore and opt for old school stabbings and shootings. :)

You're allowed a gratuitious Bomer mention, you're the CO. ;) I agree, and I have a very high gore tolerance; I am also in awe of guys like Tom Savini, Rob Bottin and Greg Nicotero who do horror FX and makeup, so all of that fascinates me. However, I do agree that in certain subgenres and styles of horror filmmaking, less is more. That could work here, just that it's SO darkly lit in most of the jump scenes that it's often hard to see what's going on. It could use a little finesse is all. (And a better score; not a fan of the dirgey synthesizer scores, at all!)

So I had to wait until the closing credits to find out who Kerry had been playing. My reaction? "Thank God, she's the one who can act!" ;-)

LMAO! Aaaaand breathe. ;)

I wasn't kidding, I would love for them to have their own Abyss. Hell, I'd love for them to have their own Leviathan - I'm not that choosy. XD
asta77 From: asta77 Date: June 13th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I just had a brilliant thought which I can't pitch to the White Collar writers because they aren't allowed to look at fan ideas, but Jamie and Kerry as husband and wife thieves! And Neal's torn because, it's now his job to help catch them, but they remind him too much of he and Kate and what he's lost!

Yep, totally OT, but I had to share. ;D
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 13th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
This has to be a two episode arc, because there needs to be a plot development whereby it seems Kerry's character has betrayed Jamie's and he and Neal have a heart to heart about wanting to believe in the woman you love. Of course, they capture Kerry and Neal is VERY hard on her, to the point of Peter having to step in. But it turns out whatever she ran off doing was for the good of both of them, so she and Jamie will be able to finally be free. All this raises a lot of doubt and anger in Neal and Peter has to pull him aside and give him the "she's not Kate, stop beating yourself up over nothing" talking-to.

(Okay, I'm deriving some inspiration for this from the 2-episode Alias arc with Christian Slater and Tracey Middendorf. But that was AWESOME. Sue me. ;) )
asta77 From: asta77 Date: June 21st, 2010 04:35 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Belated response, but I had to say you seem inclined to take White Collar down a much more serious road than the writers! ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 21st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Heh, I know. I figure they can certainly sneak in a little in-your-face angst, tho, yeah? ;) It'll all work out in the end!
lurkrealclose From: lurkrealclose Date: June 13th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
This is great! I don't watch horror movies (even really crappy ones) and now you have given me the plot (such as it is) and the pretty! Thank you!
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 13th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
You're welcome! ;)
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: September 20th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Honestly, most of what I saw (through RL coloured glasses of course) was how protective Jamie's body language was towards Kerry through the whole film. So adorable. And the proto-Bamceps are worth the price *ahem* of admission. Not that I'd watch it again without good reason. But it was a lot better than Katee's The Last Sentinel and I sat through all of that.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: September 20th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I read an interview with Kerry in which she said they became more than co-stars about two weeks into filming, so the impression you got is not without merit.

The Last Sentinel was just creepy, bad, wrong. I still waiting to see if Jamie can avoid the SyFy Saturday curse.
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: September 20th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I thought I remembered something about it not taking very long for them to start shagging.

Yeah... Similar to the A&E Pimpernel, I appreciate the aesthetic value of the bath sequence and... that's about it. Except that Last Sentinel doesn't even have the excuse of a plot.
Physha1 From: Physha1 Date: November 14th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
"Oh, Bambers. ♥ This punk-ass movie doesn't deserve you."

The best line of your re-cap. Love it! I've only watched the boiled-down-to-jamie's-scenes version, so I can't tell quite what's going on. Doesn't look like I missed much. Thank you ddt73!
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