Starring Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Jake Busey, Jeffrey Combs, John Astin, Dee Wallace, Chi McBride, Troy Evans
(7-Very Good Film)
Goofy. Exciting. Fun.
Frank Bannister: I can’t fight it, Luce. I can’t protect you! There’s only one way to deal with this thing. I gotta have an out-of-body experience.
The Frighteners is Peter Jackson’s first big Hollywood production, years before he’d make his name with the Lord of the Rings saga. Jackson described his own humor as “moronic,” and it’s true that juvenile jokes are scattered throughout the film, but it’s his ability to mix a childlike spirit of fun with solid, adult material that makes him special. The Frighteners is a substantial, thrilling ghost story that follows a local shyster, Frank Bannister (Fox), who advertises as an expert on the paranormal. The town pretty much ignores him, but the truth is, despite his con man ways, he actually can see ghosts, and later, when a mysterious force starts taking the lives of town residents, Frank is the only one who can help. Trini Alvarez plays a kind widow and the only one to believe Frank. The special effects run rampant in this film and have dated significantly. That I still find The Frighteners an effective, exciting thriller proves that Jackson uses the effects well and is above all, a storyteller.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-