The Frighteners

"Excellent"

The Frighteners Review


Ghostbusters meets Twin Peaks? Michael J. Fox's comeback movie? A film about a lazy guy who catches ghosts for a living? A supporting cast of unknowns? Does anyone want to see a movie like this?

Yes! And you'd better get to the theater quick, because The Frighteners, in a manner suggested be the above questions, will not make huge waves at the box office in a crowded field of summer blockbusters.

Nevertheless, The Frighteners is one of those gems that deserves to be seen for its fresh and funny approach to the horror genre. Peter Jackson, writer-director and master of schlock, is behind the camera for the first time since 1994's Heavenly Creatures. His tale this time is most simply described as... Ghostbusters meets Twin Peaks.

It all starts with spirit-chaser Frank Bannister (Fox), whom everyone thinks is a con-man except for the unhappy Lucy (Trini Alvarado). And when people suddenly start turning up mysteriously dead in the town of Fairwater, Frank becomes Suspect #1. While the cops and feds come after him, Frank starts a witch hunt of his own, chasing a Grim Reaper-type character who is really responsible. Meanwhile, Frank's spiritual friends come to his aid.

No, the one-paragraph description doesn't do it justice, but trust me, after 30 minutes of rough exposition, Jackson hits his stride, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense until 10 minutes from the end. No matter, because the payoff is worth it, and along the way we are treated to the end-result of the morphing effects Jackson began meddling with in Heavenly Creatures.

Even better is a performance by co-star Alvarado, who steals the show from Fox and the ghosts (not an easy feat) with her graceful beauty and excellent acting ability. If I were a studio exec, I'd be throwing lots and lots of money at her right now, because this girl (who most recently appeared in Little Women, is going to be a star [Alas.... -Ed.]. I have to admire Jackson's casting ability -- after all, he discovered Kate Winslet for Heavenly, now Alvarado... who's next? (Me!)

And my gushing about fair Trini is not to detract from Fox or the other co-stars, the most notable of which are R. Lee Ermey, recreating (as a ghost) his sergeant role from Full Metal Jacket, and Jeffrey Combs (yes, the Re-Animator himself), as the most twisted FBI agent you'll ever see on film.

Jackson's innovative use of flashback and humor overcome the script's shortcomings and some surprisingly bad (and annoying) voice dubbing, but only if you give the film a chance to pick up some steam. Early judges will not be pleased. Jackson's fans will be elated.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th July 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $16.5M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Universal

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, as Milton Dammers, as Johnny Charles Bartlett, as Cyrus, as Dr. Lucy Lynskey, as Ray Lynskey, as The Judge, Jim Fyfe as Stuart, as Sheriff Walt Perry, Julianna McCarthy as Old Lady Bradley, as Sgt. Hiles, as Magda Rees-Jones, as Deputy, as Museum Curator, Leslie Wing as Mrs. Waterhouse, Dee Wallace as Patricia Ann Bradley

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.