Saturday, July 21, 2018

10 Days Of Horror (day Three)

by Dude Poole (writer), Hilliard, October 24, 2008

Peter Jackson's The Frighteners

So after a setback on day two of the 10 Days of Horror, I pushed on to try and finish out the final eight days of my movie marathon. I think people have been feeling my pain after watching Children of the Corn yesterday, because they have been walking up to me with Dixie cups filled with watered-down Gatorade and towels to wipe myself down with. So as the marathon continues and I fight through the movie cramps that pop up during my trek, I keep looking ahead to better movies.

So hoping to rebound from the last movie, I decided to go with a little lighter fare and watch a "horror" movie that is a little more fun. I chose The Frighteners by Peter Jackson, which I think often times gets lost in the shuffle of good horror movies because it is actually a good all-around film. This was also Peter Jackson's first non-independent film so it gave him the budget to use around 500 CG shots, leading to his first thoughts of creating the Lord of the Rings films that he would make a few years later.

The film opens with a death in an eerie house in the middle of a thunderstorm. After the death we cut to a news writer creating a story about many recent deaths, and referring to death as an entity casting a dark shadow over the town. So in the span of 7 minutes Jackson does a wonderful job of setting the tone, introducing his main character, and describing the central theme to the story. So the story centers around Frank (Michael J. Fox), a psychic detective that can see and communicate with dead people (pre-Sixth Sense). He uses this ability to con people into thinking their houses are haunted, so that he can come in and charge them money for "cleaning" their house. So that the movie does not slip into the ranks of pure comedy, we learn that Frank can see an emblazoned number on the foreheads of "death's" victims. That number comes to represent the order in which the people are dying within the town. The story intensifies as it progresses and while it never completely loses its humor, it definitely becomes darker in tone as the movie works its way toward the conclusion.

The movie, like most Jackson films, is very well-made. The camera angles, the lighting, the effects, and the story are all great. I often forget how great of an actor that Michael J. Fox was before he became sick. He definitely has a style to his acting that carries over from role to role, but I always believed he was the character he was playing.

I really like this movie, I think it is fun and engaging, and while it never takes itself too seriously, it still manages to create thrills and scares throughout the movie. I highly recommend this movie as not a hardcore horror movie, but a fun thriller that can clean the funk off of a Corny scary movie. Pun intended.

About the Writer

Dude Poole is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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