Peter Jackson of Dead Alive and The Lord of the Rings fame leads us into another realm of horror created in the far off land of New Zealand. This kiwi cinema-savant has the ability to create some of the most amazing fictional worlds. This is a trait only a few directors have. It really enhances the film viewing experience by getting you to go along with the story. It fools you into believing that this place exists. It doesn't hurt that he is given some big names to work with including; Michael J. Fox, Jeffery Combs, Jake Busey, John Astin, Dee Wallace, and so many more.
The effects are really what set this movie aside from all of the others. Peter Jackson is the epitome of the title, director. He knows exactly what he wants to see on screen and makes it happen. Much like Melies and Krauss of the early days. Jackson is a master magician of the silver screen.
The Frighteners is a delightful and original feature about Frank Banister, a schlubby ghost whisperer who uses his "power" for financial gain. The ghosts are all more like average joes that have been caught and trapped in limbo. Unseen by anyone except for Banister, these spirits act just like you or me. Conflict arises when Frank Banister notices a series of numbers etched onto a few peoples heads. He starts investigating and finds himself on the trail of an executed serial killer that isnt done killing from beyond the grave.
The movie gives you comedy, action, adventure, and even a smidge of mystery. It keeps you engaged through the entire viewing. The film has a small amount of blood and gore. It is actually pretty tame. It's not the scariest but it definitely makes its mark and serves as a great movie to watch during the Halloween season.
I was surprised to see that the film was actually filmed in New Zealand. I always assumed that it was Peter Jackson's first REAL feature for the states. The movie is much more flushed out. It feels bigger than any of his other features until that point. I like that he keeps his movies at home. Why change what works. Now, hopefully, we can get Jackson and Del Toro to team up on a Lovecraftian film.
Did ya know...
It was during this film that Michael J. Fox had made the decision to retire from movies. He focused on the small screen after this picture landing a role in the new sitcom Spin City. No other actor could have been considered for the role of Frank Banister other than Fox. Danny Elfman signed on to do the soundtrack before he even knew what the movie was about.