Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Frightners (1996)

Huzzah, I am live and well.

It seems that March sucks out the souls of everyone I know. Is it the doom following a lovey dovey month like February? Is it because we're three months into the year and we haven't done a thing of consequence? Whatever it is, it certainly sucked out the creative juices out of me. I watched some great movies but I was no near good of a mind frame to write about them. Until now. After I rejuvanated my geek juices at Wondercon, I feel the power whirling.

Let us begin.

So this movie was a favorite of my boyfriends. I'm not sure how it rolled about but his enthusiasm had me shooting the movie to the top of my Netflix queue. I have to agree with him, it is a really great movie. Yes, there are some eye rolling jokes, and the special effects are *cute* but for that time, this really was a great movie.

 Before I describe the movie, I just realized that a smattering of movies I loved from the nineties had a lot of jerk/dork/bad main characters. They usually carried a kind of "whatever" attitude to life and villains. But when shit when down, they would do a complete turn around and become the focused, problem solving character (or just driven to action) that everyone looks to. I love that. I'm not advocating a scrub here. It's the switcharound part, the part where you relay on someone to do something in a crisis or zombie apocalypse. Then when everything chills down, they're back to being a better version of themselves.Love it.

Frank Banner (played by Michael J Fox) is that character for me in "The Frightners". We are introduced to him as a paranormal scam artist. After a traumatic accident resulting in the death of his wife, Banner gains the ability to see ghosts. He (somehow) uses two ghosts to do the "spooking" of the place, then Banner comes in and then through a "six-month guarentee" is able to extinguish the ghosts. Then deaths start to occur when Banner is near. Suspension arises since Banner was at fault for his wifes' accident (he drove drunk.sigh) so he steadily loses credibility the more he's seen at the scene of the crime.Banner sees a grim reaper swooping in to take the souls of the victims. The victims have already been pre-annointed with numbers which Banner can see. The more he tries to warn people, the more he's the villain. So its up to him, the friendly ghosts, and his (questionable) romantic interest to save the people.



Here's my summary of how I feel about the movie: I really enjoyed it despite it's many, many flaws.


The grim reaper killer is not the grim reaper. It's a cloaked ghost of a mass murderer from years ago. Channeling through his aging psychotic girlfriend, he's been killing off people to outnumber the kills from a previous killer.

Omigosh, I have so many issues with this. This is what keeps me from loving the movie wholeheartedly. I mean I can love "Super Mario Brothers movie" flaws and all so this really says alot. There are plenty of bad movies but they need to be believable in the context of the movie for me to enjoy them. If I end up asking myself "What?" or "Why" or "But?" then I'm pulled completely away from the movie.

Here are just five questions that had me throwing my mental hands in the air:

1. Why now? Why start killing people again?"
2. Why does he bother painting a number on the victims head when NO ONE BUT BANNER AND GHOSTS can see????!
3. How can he just KILL ghosts???! HE'S a bloody ghost!!!
4. What is the criteria for the victims? If it's random, then it would be random and quick. If there was a pattern, I didn't see it.
5. Your telling me the mother of the psychotic daughter allowed her to keep the ashes of the murderous boyfriend? Why? WHY?

When I pushed those questions very roughly aside, I can almost lose myself in the movie until I have to deal with the "romance" of the movie between Lucy and Frank. I just don't buy it.Lucy's boyfriend just died. Other than him being a dipshit and taking her movie, they did seem to have some sort of history. Which apparently goes out the window when she learns that Frank can see ghosts and solve mysteries. Either she's too lazy to solve life's mystery or she's a vapid, horrible woman. So, the romance score gets a negative fifty.

The only thing I loved about the movie was Frank. Thank you Michael J Fox for being a great actor and carrying this whole movie on your shoulders. Any other actor would have screwed this up. Instead, I enjoyed the funny scenes and was riveted by the action sequences.

"The Frighteners" is a relic of the nineties that has been grossly overlooked by the public. If your into the macabre like "Beetlejuice" you would get a kick out of this movie.

1 comment:

The Inspired Cook said...

Whoa!! This brings me back! I don't think I ever saw this movie (except maybe snatches of it on an airplane), but for some reason it really resonates with me. Maybe I watched the trailers a lot? Maybe it was just really popular? I don't know, but you just brought me back!