Entertaining horror comedy.
The Frighteners is set in the small Australian town of Fairwater where
Dr. Lucy Lynskey (Trini Alvarado) & her husband Ray (Peter Dobson) have
recently moved, one night they experience supernatural goings on & call
psychic detective Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) who can see ghosts
to rid their house of their unwanted guests. He does but shortly after
he finds out that Ray is dead, having died from a mysterious heart
condition that has took the life of other's in Fairwater. Frank soon
sees that a Grim Reaper type ghost is killing people by squeezing their
hearts inside their bodies, in his attempts to stop it Frank is
implicated in the mysterious deaths & FBI agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey
Combs) is convinced Frank is responsible. As the deaths mount up Frank
is the only person who can end the evil...
This New Zealand American co-production was co-written, produced &
directed by Peter Jackson & is a very entertaining & fun horror comedy.
There are two versions of The Frighteners available, the original
theatrical cut & the obligatory director's cut which runs for just over
10 minutes longer, I will be basing my comments on the theatrical cut.
The script by Jackson & associate producer Fran Walsh moves along at a
nice pace, it has a decent story with a reasonable twist ending & it
doesn't take itself too seriously. I have always liked the character's
in Peter Jackson films, he always manages to give them personality & a
likability. The film gallops along from one over-the-top set piece to
another & as a result the story suffers a little as a few things go
unexplained but at least something is always happening to take your
mind off it. There's a fair amount of imagination on show, there are
some funny moments & one-liners too. I felt the film maybe went on for
a little bit too long & I didn't like the overly sentimental & mushy
'happily ever after' ending.
I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson's early splatter/comedy films, Bad
Taste (1987), Meet the Feebles (1989) & Braindead (1992) are three of
my very favourite films & you can see Jackson's playful style here, you
can see that The Frighteners was his biggest budgeted film to date & he
lets loose on the CGI effects, camera tricks & visual flair. Some of
the CGI effects aren't up there with the best on show these days but
they're generally fine. He has had to tone the outrageous gore &
splatter down from his earlier films which comes as a disappointment,
there is a scene in which someone has their head shot off but that's
about it. The comedy isn't as gross or offencive either, basically
everything that I loved about Jackson's earlier films is toned down for
his Hollywood debut which came as a disappointment.
With a supposed budget of about $30,000,000 The Frighteners was a well
funded film that flopped at the box-office & looks great with flashy
cinematography, atmospheric sets & plenty of special effects. The
acting was good, Fox puts in a decent, likable performance.
The Frighteners is a good comedy horror, it's not as good as I had
hoped as I feel Jackson sold out somewhat but taken on it's own it's a
highly entertaining film that's lots of fun to watch. Well worth a
watch, it's as simple & straight forward as that..
kcpontia watch Titan A.E. movie
this is an old movie.
angelchloie watch Blow movie
good movie, nice reso and audio.
sport watch The Water Babies movie
An exciting and very entertaining movie..
kosws watch Brian's Song movie
this 1 is a good movie even for a child!!!.
koss watch Last Man Standing movie
I Like This Movie!!! .
even a child will not be scared.
this flick is silly and funny.
nice Horror & family movie Good Sci-fi film in 1996.
The frighteners is a fun adventure,the whole family will enjoy.
Ghost Busters Turned Dark
"The Frighteners" starts out as a sort of rehash of a "Ghost Busters"
type of story, in which Michael J. Fox plays Frank Bannister - a guy
who has the ability to see ghosts, and who then enlists the help of
some local apparitions to "haunt" local houses, into which he then
comes as the "hero" to exorcise the troublesome spirits afflicting the
happy home. The ghosts he worked with were kind of fun, and this looked
to be shaping up as a silly but enjoyable comedy. Fox did reasonably
well with this portrayal of Bannister as a con artist. About halfway
through, though, the movie takes on a much darker feel, as it becomes
clear that a number of mysterious deaths that have occurred (which
we've known about all along but which haven't really been front and
centre to this point) are actually the work of the spirit of a deceased
mass murderer who was executed for his killing spree in the town years
before. Although there's always an attempt to mix some humour in, this
part of the story certainly loses the fun and almost whimsical sense
that the first half had. My own sense was also that Fox didn't handle
the role so well when things became more serious. For whatever reason,
Michael J. Fox has never really overwhelmed me as an actor. I enjoyed
his work on "Family Ties" and thought he handled the "Back to the
Future" stuff pretty well, but when he takes on serious roles, I find
it difficult for some reason to take him seriously. That was the case
here, even though his battle against the mass murdering ghost - while
serious - was certainly in the spirit of a very dark comedy.
There were other weaknesses to the story. I was never able to buy into
the relationship between Frank and Lucy (Trini Alvarado.) He came out
of nowhere to save her house from poltergeists, and was obviously a
fraud - and yet she seemed to fall for the guy right off. There were
also a couple of characters who were just too over the top to even be
funny - especially Lucy's husband Ray and the FBI agent. It also seemed
to be two largely unoriginal plots (the "Ghost Busters" type beginning,
with an ending that sounds like the basic plot of a horror-type ghost
story) joined together to result in an unoriginal movie (although I
suppose the idea of joining them together was original.) On the bright
side, mind you, there was some excellent work done by the special
effects people involved with this. It wasn't a horrible movie in any
way, but it really didn't connect with me either. 4/10.