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In the sleepy little town of Fairwater, a monstrous evil has awakened...an evil so powerful, its reach extends beyond the grave. Director Peter Jackson and Executive Producer Robert Zemeckis unleash a riveting thriller with the most spectacular special effects this side of the hereafter. For Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), death is a great way to make a living: ridding haunted houses of their "unwelcome" guests". But he's in cahoots with the very ghosts he promises to evict! It's the perfect scam...until Frank finds himself at the center of a dark mystery. A diabolical spirit is on a murderous rampage, and the whole town believes Frank is behind it. Boasting music by Danny Elfman and co-starring Trini Alvarado, Jeffrey Combs and John Astin, this supernatural chiller is so fiendishly entertaining, it's scary!
One movie lover's nightmare is another's raucous joyride, and this special effects-laden horror comedy is bound to split both camps right down the middle. (Or, as Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide puts it, "definitely not for all tastes but a wild time for those who get into it.") Michael J. Fox plays a psychic investigator who can actually see ghosts, and lives with a trio of undead spirits who scare people to promote Fox's ghost-busting business. In a town infamous for serial killings, a new series of deaths prompts Fox to induce his own out-of-body experience so he can battle death in a spirit-plagued netherworld where evil reigns supreme--or something like that. So much happens in this chaotic film that you might feel like you're watching several movies at once--a slasher pic, a supernatural thriller, and a black comedy all rolled into a nonstop showcase for grisly makeup and a dozen varieties of special effects. It's an odd but wildly inventive film from New Zealand director Peter Jackson, who earned critical acclaim for his previous film Heavenly Creatures and would later create the ingenious pseudo-documentary Forgotten Silver. --Jeff Shannon
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The extra features about the production of the film (on the Blu-ray edition) are also very enjoyable. We get to see all the decisions they had to make and all the work they had to put into creating this film. Once again, we see that Peter Jackson's team will create the best possible movie they can within the limited budget, time, and resources; they had it going before they even thought about taking on the Tolkien stories.
Years later, I'm still torn. I love/hate this movie. At times it's brilliant, the humor is mostly great, the special affects a wow. Trini Alvarado was perfect (as the only rational character in the film). Michael J. Fox was fun. Dee Wallace was appropriately creepy. Loved the faux grim reaper. But. Just bits and pieces of this film work, the rest is just annoyingly extraneous. It always leaves me wanting more/better from the likes of Peter Jackson.
The Frighteners is dark comedy or humorous horror movie, depending on your take.
Michael J Fox is a paranormal investigator who is legitimate, but he scams people by having ghosts he works with haunt houses so he can get a paycheck for "cleansing" them.
His wife was killed in a car accident under suspicious circumstances and he has never forgiven himself and the police still suspect he was somehow involved.
Events soon start happening that lead him to believe that his wife was murdered and the murderer was a ghost.
The film is essentially about him trying to solve the mystery of her murder and stop additional murders along the way.
There are plot elements that involve Charlie Starkweather and his rampage and an extension of similar in the plot.
The film is raucous fun, but you do need to pay attention to what's going on, because several different sub-plot lines are running tangent to the main one.
I don't want to give too much away as this is a fun film to watch on a stormy night to give you just a bit of the creeps and quite a few laughs.
Oh, yeah, and if that isn't enough this was one of Peter Jackson's (Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, The Hobbit) first films.
I am not a big fan of the horror genre but I really like Michael J. Fox and he was the draw for me to watch it the first time and I was happy that I did. Normally his characters are the innocent good guy if not a bit selfish, in the Frighteners he isn’t, more con man than hero and I liked it. Speaking of roles, there are a few I really liked, the wild west cowboy ghost was great in his scenes and the high stress twitchy investigator, irritating but if you like or hate a character I figure they have done their job good enough for me to feel some way or another.