Is there anything better than a killer opening sequence to get an audience going?
Maybe it’s the still electrifying late night swim which opens Steven Spielberg’s iconic great white blockbuster Jaws, all moonlight and that unforgettable score. Maybe it’s the daring POV-style killing which starts the carnage of John Carpenter’s Halloween, with its vintage synth score and shaky verisimilitude. Maybe it’s that great bit in Lake Placid where a world weary Brendan Gleeson sees some guy get torn in two by a massive crocodile.
In any case, the answer is yes. Yes, there is something better than a killer opening sequence, and that is a great movie. After all, there’s nothing worse than the sinking realisation that nothing else in a flick is going to live up to its dynamite opening. It’s uniquely disheartening, the crushing moment when an incredible opening sequence ends and the audiences slowly starts to see that the otherwise-forgettable feature film could as easily have been cut down to a great short.
With that disappointment in mind, we here at WhatCulture have opted to collate a list of movies which are well worth watching for their great opening scenes—and nothing after that.
12. Ghost Ship
Okay so by now this film is pretty famous for consisting of a great opening scene and almost no other redeeming qualities, but damn if said opening sequence isn’t great enough to be worth spotlighting once more. The film itself is an extremely lame and predictable sea-set supernatural thriller which follows a miscast Gabriel Byrne and his swarthy crew of salvagers as they come across the eponymous spirit-filled cruise liner and are besieged by said spirits in short order. Showcasing the worst aspects of early 2000s horror, the film boasts both uninspired CG ghouls and a molasses-slow plot, leaving little reason to recommend it to anyone.
Except, that is, for its standout opening scene, wherein a nefarious plot sees an entire deck’s worth of passengers bisected in gory detail onscreen when a vital (and seriously sharp) cord is cut by our evil villain. What follows is an insanely gruesome sequence dropped in from a far more daring film, as future star Emily Browning is left screaming amongst the piles of halved adults surrounding her.