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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 66: Phantoms

Vague poster is vague

“Affleck, you were the bomb in Phantoms, yo!” I, like most teenage boys, was a big Kevin Smith fan back in high school. That line always from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back always stuck out to me because I never got the reference. I had only known Ben Affleck from Good Will Hunting and various Kevin Smith movies. I guess it just flew under my radar for years, so I figured I would give it a shot and see if, in fact, Affleck was “the bomb.”

Based off the novel by Dean Koontz, Phantoms stars Rose McGowan (Planet Terror, Ready to Rumble) as Lisa and Joanna Going (Wyatt Earp, The Tree of Life) as her sister Jenny. They arrive in the small mountain town of Snowfield to find it eerily deserted. The come across the mangled corpse of their cleaning lady. Their jeep no longer works, so they walk to the police station, where they find a dead police officer. They are soon joined by Sheriff Bryce Hammond (Ben Affleck), and his deputies Stu Wargle (Liev Schreiber, X-Men Origins:Wolverine, Salt) and Steve Shanning (Nicky Katt, Dazed and Confused, A Time To Kill). A series of eerie events including flashing lights and mysterious music lead them to a hotel where a message written on a mirror talking about a Professor Flyte (Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia, Man of La Mancha) and The Ancient Enemy. Steve is mysteriously murdered by an unseen enemy and the rest of the group flee to the police station where Hammond calls on the radio for help from the army and to find Professor Flyte. Stu is attacked by a giant moth creature that completely eats his face and brain in seconds. Professor Flyte is taken to the town by the FBI and informs them that the Ancient Enemy has wiped out entire species and civilizations in the past. The Ancient Enemy, believing itself to be the Devil, quickly kills the soldiers and implants itself in the bodies of dead scientists. The Enemy commands Flyte to “write the gospel” and tell the world that it will be destroyed. Will Hammond, Flyte, Lisa and Jenny be able to stop The Ancient Enemy and save the world?

It's hard to understand you when I look this awesome

Phantoms feels like two movies in one and thankfully both movies are good. The first half of the movie has plenty of suspense and mystery with the girls wandering around an empty town with strange occurrences startling them. Flashing lights and disturbing whispers over the phone definitely give off a creepy vibe for anyone that's ever been home alone. The second half, where the army comes into town and The Ancient Enemy is revealed, feels more like a sci-fi action movie. There are plenty of action shots to keep your heart pounding and your mind wondering what is next. It has a good combination of startling moments and genuine creepiness. The effects are good, but compared to today, nothing special.

I can confirm that Ben Affleck is indeed “the bomb.” He does well in his role as the Sheriff, and while he may not be an action star, he could do well in other police and authority roles in the future. Schreiber is great in his particularly douchey role of Deputy Wargle. His sanity is slipping and he tries to compensate with little laughs and side comments. You're practically cheering for the Ancient Enemy to kill him. Rose McGowan, as cute as ever, does well as the scared Lisa, but since seeing her in more confident roles, I almost feel like she was miscast and should have had the role of Jenny. O'Toole is just fantastic, but that's no surprise.
The Phantoms are coming from inside the house! Wait, wrong movie.

Phantoms has plenty of action, mystery and suspense to keep people entertained. Even if you don't like horror, you'd be hard-pressed not to at least get some entertainment out of this movie. It's a creative story that is complemented by a very good cast. Phantoms is definitely worth your time.


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