HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
   
 
Newest Articles
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
   
 
  Frighteners, The Scared To DeathBuy this film here.
Year: 1996
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace, Jake Busey, Chi McBride, Jim Fyfe, Troy Evans, Julianna McCarthy, R. Lee Ermey, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Angela Bloomfield, Desmond Kelly, Jonathan Blick, Melanie Lynskey
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Night has fallen on the small town of Fairwater, and in one isolated manor house all hell is breaking loose as the walls are erupting with a supernatural force victimising a middle-aged woman, Patricia Ann Bradley (Dee Wallace), chasing her around the premises until her mother (Julianna McCarthy) appears with a shotgun and blows the apparition's head off. But the town does suffer with spirits, and one man, Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), is a psychic who knows how to deal with them thanks to his otherworldly gift. Can he stop murders, though?

The Frighteners was the film that marked a transition between filmmaker Peter Jackson's smaller films - he'd just come off Heavenly Creatures - and the blockbusters he went on to make with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which left this, something of a disappointment at the box office, as rather the odd film out. It did quite well in the U.K. where its mixture of laughs and scares went down well with a nation who had grown up watching Rentaghost on the television, yet elsewhere it struggled, leaving it one of the last true cult movies Jackson made in his original style, only with one notable difference.

That being the preponderance of computer graphics which made up most of the effects work, here applied in the liberal amount Jackson's low budget gore movies had enjoyed. This was the beginning of his Weta studio which fast became a hub of CGI expertise, and it was the efforts demonstrated in those Rings movies which made that come to pass, though you only had to look back to the cartoonish but well-applied technical skill in this neglected entry into the filmmaker's canon to see where it all began. There had been such effects in Heavenly Creatures, but it was here that Jackson truly ran with the style and there was an exuberance to the visuals which distinguished it.

Fox, in one of the last movies he made before his Parkinson's Disease grew too debilitating (though he continued to appear on television in specially-written roles), illustrated not a comic aplomb he might have developed elsewhere, but surprising dramatic chops. Before, when he had tried this he had been accused of being a lightweight punching above his weight when he attempted to be serious, so it was rather poignant that in one of his final movies he should prove his worth in that field as his Bannister character slides into terror-fuelled depression. Fox really sold these scenes, and made the turn from humour to something far more grave (pun intended) all the more convincing.

It could have come across like two halves of a film awkwardly joined together, but if the transition between them was almost purposefully spiky, as if Ghostbusters had switched horses midstream to transform into a horror sequel to Badlands, then that was what offered the work its genuinely unusual, though more than simply quirky, personality. Bannister may be an authentic psychic, but he is a charlatan who uses actual ghosts to stage poltergeist hauntings so he can pretend to solve them, yet after a while what was a rather flippant plot device is deepened when the grim reaper spectre killing off the townsfolk is linked to the tragedy in Bannister's past which gave him his powers.

Add in shocker favourite Jeffrey Combs as a crazed FBI agent, matching the nuttiness of the effects with sheer force of acting, John Astin as one of the spooks sporting very impressive Rick Baker makeup, and Trini Alvarado as the love interest who more than proves her worth when the reaper comes after her, among other neat character performers, and you had a kidding but oddly revealing commentary on the cult of the serial killer and the rivalry it could exacerbate which doubled as a high octane rollercoaster ride which just happened to revel in its protagonist's emotional suffering to get him through his torment and out the other side. As a study of grief, The Frighteners was hard to take in many ways when it indulged in showy morbidity, yet in others it was unexpectedly sharp-witted and lucid. Pretty busy, then, and not quite like anything else, which may explain why it took a while to catch on, if it ever did. Music by Danny Elfman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1698 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Peter Jackson  (1961 - )

Hugely talented New Zealand director best known today for his Lord of the Rings adaptations. Started out making inventive, entertaining gore comedies like Bad Taste and Braindead, while his adult Muppet-spoof Meet the Feebles was a true one-off. Jackson's powerful murder drama Heavenly Creatures was his breakthrough as a more 'serious' filmmaker, and if horror comedy The Frighteners was a bit of a disappoinment, then his epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy - Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King were often breathtaking interpretations of Tolkien's books. 2005's blockbuster King Kong saw Jackson finally realise his dream of updating his all-time favourite film, but literary adaptation The Lovely Bones won him little respect. In 2012 he returned to Middle Earth with the three-part epic The Hobbit and in 2018 directed acclaimed WWI doc They Shall Not Grow Old.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: