frighteners

It’s a very bad sign when the dvd opens – not as a special feature – with Peter Jackson explaining how exciting it was to work with all the new special effects. Tellingly, he has nothing to say regarding the story, and this script by Jackson and Fran Walsh, with its absolutely dreadful attempts at black humor, needed a complete overhaul before the film went into production. The comedy here is painfully embarrassing and the movie just doesn’t work as an R-rated Michael J. Fox vehicle, though it might have succeeded as straight-on horror, especially considering the participation of two supporting actors, Jeffry Combs and Dee Wallace Stone.


*
Combs and Wallace Stone have fun with their over-the-top roles; their performances hint at the enjoyable scariness Jackson seems to have been reaching for. With a much tighter script, no juvenile humor, and more room for actors who know how to work the genre, Jackson might have made a good, fun, creepy film.

Dee Wallace Stone in The Frighteners.

Dee Wallace Stone in The Frighteners.

Jeffrey Combs in The Frighteners.

Jeffrey Combs in The Frighteners.