The retired British luxury ocean liner ship, RMS Queen Mary, is still known to this day as much for its haunted stories as for its rich history. Therefore, the new supernatural horror film Haunting of the Queen Mary came in with a lot of promise and yet heavily disappoints by the end. Covering three different but interconnected horror stories from three time periods, the film presents horrific paranormal activities aboard the ship, which is now permanently moored in Long Beach, California. It is mostly because of the intentionally confusing and incoherent structuring of timelines that Haunting of the Queen Mary becomes quite a forgettable watch.
What Is The Film About?
Haunting of the Queen Mary begins with scenes from 1938, when the magnificent ship was in the middle of her voyage on the North Atlantic Ocean. Although some of the passengers are still seen involved in merrymaking, some sections of the workers aboard the ship discuss something strange happening at the place. Very soon, it becomes clear that a masked man aboard the ship has been on a killing spree, violently cutting down people while also looking for an escape. Despite being initially caught and kept locked up by the authorities, the man is again able to set himself free, seemingly with the help of his young daughter.
The film then also shifts into the present, where a woman named Anne Caulder drives her young son Lukas toward Long Beach, California. Anne and her separated ex-husband, Lukas’s father, Patrick, have been working on a project aimed at saving the Queen Mary. While Patrick intends to write a book, Anne is mostly convinced by young Lukas’s words that something more interactive would serve the purpose better than just a flat book of history and architecture. Thus, when Anne meets with the captain of the moored Queen Mary ship, she presents her idea of building a software-based virtual tour of the entire cruise ship.
During this time, Lukas accompanies his father on one of the ghost walks on the ship, in which visitors are taken to various depths of the ship and told about paranormal hauntings that take place there. In a strange manner, Lukas gets separated from the group, and the boy keeps exploring by himself with his favorite camera in hand. But he realizes very soon after that he is definitely not the only person here, as Lukas sees a young girl around the same age as him. Walking around an old swimming pool deep inside the hull of the ship, Lukas is attacked by the ghost of the masked man before he is seemingly saved by the young girl, who pulls him down into the pool. However, even though Lukas is reunited with his parents after some time and returns home, there is something distinctly different and odd about him.
What Had Happened Aboard The Queen Mary Ship In 1938?
Just like the scene with which it first begins, Haunting of the Queen Mary presents an extensive account of events from the ship’s past in 1938. This account begins with a particular family of three: David, his wife Gwen, and their eight-year-old daughter Jackie. Led by David, the three actually impersonated their way into the cruise ship, for they themselves did not have invitations to the grand dinner arrangements. Always wearing a half-face mask to cover a gruesome injury from his time at war, David was confident of finding some way to ensure their presence at the dinner hall, and he had found out about a couple who had just canceled. Taking on their identities and referring to Jackie as their niece, the couple did find themselves a seat at the prestigious dining hall aboard the Queen Mary. The exact identity of this family, with regard to where they hailed from or why they were on the ship at all, is not revealed anywhere in the film. But each of the characters is given some smaller and more minute details, like the fact that Gwen was obsessed with card reading or that Jackie wanted to be a dancer and actor in the movies.
Both of these personal interests come into play very soon when young Jackie approaches a group of film directors and actors at the dining hall, wanting to show them her skills in dancing. The director, an egoistic man, immediately turns Jackie down, and David now takes the chance to have a word with the man. However, at this very same time, the original couple whose identities David and Gwen were using also reached the dinner, and this immediately warned the authorities of what had happened. They question David and even express doubts as to whether the man had actually served in the war. Because of the situation and also because David had been shown as a cold-blooded killer right from the beginning of the film, there always seemed to be something very odd and sinister about him. However, in reality, there was nothing strange about the man except for the half-face mask he had to wear to hide his horrible injury. His attempt to talk with the film director at the dinner scene was also to ensure that his daughter would get some chance to showcase her skills, and there was nothing dangerous in this either.
However, as David was rather disrespected and thrown out of the dinner along with his wife, the man took a walk by himself through the corridors down in the hull of the ship. He came across the swimming pool and also spent some time alone there when, suddenly, he was possessed by the spirit of a ghost. It was this spirit that instantly turned David murderous and made the man go on a violent rampage, killing whoever and whatever he found in front of him. David first walked back to his chambers, carrying a heavy metal ax, with which he murdered his wife, Gwen. A number of other men and women, all passengers in the adjacent room, had tried to stop the act, and so David butchered them as well, leaving all their bodies in a horrific pile. When Gwen’s body was discovered by the authorities, they also managed to capture David and keep him in a straightjacket in one of the cabins. But the man escaped this as well when his daughter found him and helped him out. Still possessed by the ghost, David killed Jackie, too, before he attempted to escape the ship altogether.
What Had Taken Possession Of David?
Around the same time that the gruesome murders were taking place on the Queen Mary in 1938, there was also a different emergency in the engine room of the ship. The engines and other machinery of the vehicle had suddenly faltered, creating a strange and sudden moment of panic aboard since the ship would soon capsize and sink. The way in which this crisis is averted by the erstwhile captain of the ship is directly related to the spirit that had taken possession of David only sometime earlier. It is revealed by the captain that a practice called a “foundation sacrifice” had been conducted during the construction of the Queen Mary ship. According to some old engineering traditions, it was believed that human life needed to be sacrificed in order to guarantee the structural integrity of structures and constructions.
When the Queen Mary ship was being built, the future of its owning company was extremely unstable and unclear, and so the makers were desperate to make it a success. Therefore, a man named Edward Clark had been selected by the workers to make this sacrifice based on the fact that Clark was a former prisoner who was believed to have committed murders. Clark was brought onto the ship and then buried alive inside the thick metal walls inside the hull of the ship, through which the structural integrity of the ship was confirmed. On that fateful evening in 1938, when the engines of the ship initially malfunctioned, this released steam and created an explosion in the walls of the boiler room, where Clark’s body had possibly been buried.
As the walls gave away, Clark’s spirit, desperate to leave the ship, escaped and immediately found its body in the nearby area by the swimming pool. This body was that of David, who had been wandering in the area by himself, and as soon as Clark’s spirit entered into his body, he started a murderous rampage. The main motive for Clark’s spirit was to escape the ship, and for this, it controlled David’s body into climbing into a lifeboat and trying to row away from the Queen Mary. However, the ship’s erstwhile captain obviously knew all about this, and he was also aware that if Clark’s spirit did escape, the Queen Mary ship would be immediately destroyed, killing all its passengers as well. Therefore, the only way for the captain was to shoot David dead, which would ensure that Clark’s spirit would not be able to escape and would stay inside the ship. While the captain succeeded in doing this, he was shaken by all the events that had taken place, and he then killed himself inside his cabin.
Did Anne And Patrick Save Their Son Lukas?
The basic premise behind all the innumerable hauntings seen aboard the Queen Mary ship in the present timeline is the same: each of the ghosts wanted to escape the ship. The ghosts, or spirits, were all seemingly from the grisly murders that a possessed David had committed and also from some other secret dark events that must have taken place on the ship. With respect to the family seen in the present-day timeline, they are affected directly by the ship when the young son Lukas is saved by the ghost of Jackie. Lukas had been chased by the ghost of possessed David before he was pulled inside the pool by the ghost of Jackie and saved by her, but the girl had her own intention behind this. Like every other ghost, Jackie’s spirit also wanted to escape the ship and was in search of a body. Thus, when Lukas is reunited with his parents and is taken home, the parents find out that it was actually the spirit of Jackie living inside their son’s body while the spirit of Lukas was still trapped inside the ship.
It is in order to rescue their son from inside the ship that Anne and Patrick spend long, deadly hours at the place, themselves coming across multiple dangerous hauntings. However, the parents are ultimately unable to find their son, and so they instead agree to let their souls stay back aboard the ship while their bodies are used by the spirits of Gwen and David to escape the place. Their child, Jackie, was already on the outside, and so the Caulders let their bodies be used.
Haunting of the Queen Mary‘s ending is incredibly sketchy and confusing, but the overall sense that the film perhaps portrays is that Anne and Patrick are not only unable to find their son but they also get arrested by the police. This is because, after learning that inside Lukas’s body was now the spirit of Jackie, Anne threw the boy down from her house window. To her neighbor and to the police, who were shortly called after this, such an act was a clear act of homicide since they had no idea about the paranormal activities. But to the current captain of the Queen Mary ship, Bittner, this comes as a huge sigh of relief, for Lukas’s camera would have revealed too many secrets about the ship to the outside world. However, with the camera roll now thrown away and the Caulders also arrested by the police, there was no risk for Bittner and his employers, and so the gruesome secrets about the Queen Mary ship are also preserved.