Abysmal and unintentionally hysterical, The Ninth Passenger is a shipwreck of a film that desperately overreaches and plunges straight overboard.
The setup of The Ninth Passenger resembles that of a thousand better low-budget genre movies. A group of salacious, idiotic teens venture aboard a luxury yacht for a night of debauchery, and before long an uninvited guest begins picking them off. But that evidently wasn’t enough for writer-director Corey Large, who also plays one of the ill-fated idiots. Not content to be a dumb teen-slasher, The Ninth Passenger quickly morphs into a thoughtless monster movie and a big-business conspiracy thriller, and not one of these things seems within the talents of Large, whose previous credits are as executive producer on such dreck as Extraction, First Kill and Acts of Violence.
The notable name in The Ninth Passenger is that of Jesse Metcalfe, from John Tucker Must Die, here playing a snooping yacht repairman whose ulterior motives just might include the copying of certain tell-tale computer files helpfully stored in a folder labelled, “Top Secret”. The yacht, through convoluted means, is associated with the sinister machinations of a cartoonishly evil corporation who spill poisonous chemicals into the sea and bribe those affected. Also on the case is Jess (Alexia Fast), a lily-livered liberal do-gooder with a conveniently personal connection to the affair.
Jess is on the boat because her pal, Nicole (Cinta Laura Kiehl), wants to get high and naked with Lance (Tom Maden) and Marty (David Hennessey), the two well-off Ivy League douchebags who have borrowed the yacht. Which is pretty convenient, when you think about it. Nevertheless, there are some others aboard, including Large himself as Malcolm, Sabina Gadecki as Malcolm’s date, and Veronica Dunne as Marty’s ex. Also some hilariously cheap-looking sucker-faced fish monsters, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The Ninth Passenger is dreadful, and certainly shouldn’t be confused with the similarly-titled but much better 5th Passenger. It’s amateurish slop. If I were to say the acting was “wooden”, it would be the greatest compliment these performers have ever received. By the time the genetically-engineered murderous fish arrive, you’re ready for them to butcher everyone – the only disappointment is that most of the bloodletting occurs off-screen. Then again, judging by the visual effects that we do see, it’s probably for the best that the murders are consigned to the depths of the ocean – if only a similar fate would befall The Ninth Passenger itself.