Phantoms (1998) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

While author Stephen King has found critical and commercial success with his film adaptation, fellow scribe Dean R. Koontz has never had a successful big-screen translation of any of his novels. Phantoms join a long list (Watchers, Hideaway) of less than mediocre movies based on the writing of the prolific Koontz. This is the kind of instantly forgettable, bland, cheap-looking horror film that Miramax dumped onto screens in the 90s’.

The sleepy town of Snowfield, Colo., has been decimated by an evil spirit that has killed off the entire population, possessing a number of those it kills. As the locals continue to fall victim to the demonic presence, it’s up to Sheriff Bryce Hammond (Ben Affleck) to lead the response. He’s helped by FBI-employed academic Dr. Timothy Flyte (Peter O’Toole), Deputy Stu Wargle (Liev Schreiber), local doctor Jennifer Pailey (Joanna Going) and her visiting sister, Lisa (Rose McGowan).

Phantoms is a highly disposal horror vehicle for the young talent under contract to the Weinsteins. It was produced in the hopes of scoring a solid opening weekend gross and then to disappear into obscurity. It’s probably most notable for being a curiosity on star Ben Affleck’s IMDB page. And how Peter O’Toole ended up in this is must be purely motivated by financial gain. It’s reminiscent of Michael Caine’s infamous quote regarding Jaws: The Revenge. In fact, Phantoms is just as unscary, labored, and inadequate as that notorious bomb from 1987.

Director: Joe Chappelle
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rose Mcgowan, Peter O’Toole

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