Phantoms 1998

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(22) IMDb 5.3/10
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Sci-fi horror based on the Dean Koontz novel. When the people of Snowfield suddenly go missing - 700 of them - only five are left behind: two sisters (Rose McGowan and Joanna Going); the sheriff (Ben Affleck) and his deputy (Liev Schreiber); and an elderly professor (Peter O'Toole). Together they discover that an ancient evil, which for centuries rested beneath the Earth's crust, has revived to destroy every human in the town... and they are next on the list.

Starring:
Joanna Going, John Scott Clough
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 32 minutes
Starring Joanna Going, John Scott Clough, Joanna Go, Michael DeLorenzo, Liev Schreiber, Rose McGowan, Peter O'Toole, Ben Affleck, Judith Drake, Luke Eberl, Rachel Shane, Bo Hopkins, Yvette Nipar, Dean Hall, Rich Beall, William Hahn, Clifton Powell, Nicky Katt
Director Joe Chappelle
Genres Horror, Science Fiction
Rental release 9 May 2011
Main languages English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bakuryuu Tyranno on 29 Oct 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In its time, Phantoms was reportedly considered unimaginative. I consider that pretty harsh; it may be another movie about some people in a deserted location with a monster, but those behind it at least made their own interesting take regarding this scenario.

Too many horror movies these days - especcially big-budget horror films, for which its a ridiculously high number of non-sequels/remakes - are highly derivative of either The Ring, Saw or build around one of the main ingredients of Saw (excessive gore, a villain who's ultimately trying to teach his victims an important lesson, or an unpredictable twist ending).

Phantoms is also genuinely creepy in places, and keeps jump "scares" to a minimum.

Affleck and O'Toole are pretty good throughout their roles, the actress playing the younger sister does well with what shes given, and Schreiber is pretty effected at playing the creepy cop.

Incredibly, the pacing is pretty good here, unlike some monster films from the same time period.

The main disappointment I have with Phantoms is after being introduced as the supposed protagonists, the sisters don't get to contribute much during the finale.

Thankfully the creature's final form isn't really shown clearly making this monster feel like some indescribable monstrosity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Oct 2014
Format: DVD
Directed by Joe Chappelle and written by Dean Koontz, who adapts from his own novel, Phantoms (not the greatest title all things considered) is a considerably well put together amalgamation of horror/sci-fi/creature feature tropes. If at times it feels clichéd and formulaic, then that is ultimately a curse of the cinematic genres it lives and breaths in.

Plot basically has two sisters played by Rose McGowan and Joanna Going arriving in the town of Snowfield, Cololrado, to find most of the inhabitants dead, diseased or dismembered. A trio of coppers turn up played by Liev Schreiber (shifty malevolence), Ben Affleck (square jawed bastion of heroism) and Nicky Katt (fodder of course), and thus a fight for survival ensues as Peter O'Toole's sharp doctor character comes flying in to become the fulcrum of the story. So yep! There's something very evil and nasty at work here and the makers expand upon the reasons why with a drip-feed mixture of mad science and intelligent thematic ideas.

The effects work is more than adequate and the strong cast list perform well up to scratch (nice to see O'Toole doesn't phone it in to denigrate the story). Things are taken very seriously throughout, the makers in no way biting the hand that feeds them, while the requisite insertions of jump - shocks - twists and mayhem are handled with care and attention by the director. You may come away as I did with a hunger to dig out your copy of John Carpenter's sublime The Thing? Which in truth is never a bad "thing," but this is still sturdy stuff, a pic caked in genre cement, and crucially it doesn't waste the time invested by the genre compliant viewers. 7/10
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By chris_1faith@hotmail.com on 3 Aug 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This didn't make much of an impact when it was released in cinemas or on rental, probably because of a lack of publicity. However, this is a very atmospheric and claustrophobic film about a group of people trapped in a small town with something...... When I saw this, I recognised many celebrities, who were up and coming at the time that this was made. It's fun to see them in their early days and the acting is top notch. Plotwise, it opens up well and moves along at the right pace. The ending is a bit strange and you probably won't have guessed it, but it is a lot of fun. I would class this movie as a horror movie, but there is hardly any gore and it relies on what you don't see, which is better horror than seeing every hack and slash. This film is brilliant and it has been on rental for over a year, but is well worth the wait. At £.. it's at a bargain price, so there's no excuse for you not to buy this little gem!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tango on 8 Jan 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
if your a stephen king fanatic and you like your horrors then do try this one. its in same league as king films. oooochh
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Albatross on 30 April 2013
Format: DVD
Apparently, Phantoms is based on a book, but, seeing as I haven't read it, I really can't compare it to that. The popular consensus from those that have is that - as usual - the film doesn't compare to the book.

It's about two sisters who come to a small town after their mother died, only to find that the whole town has also died, only in more hideous and disturbing circumstances. Luckily, the youngest Sherriff in America (aka Ben Affleck) is on hand to help them out and steer them through the danger. Add into the mix eccentric British academic, Peter O'Toole and you have a rag-tag bunch ready to combat evil. Yes, the American army does try to help, but it's fair to say that Ben and Peter are better at saving the world than any trained military force.

Somehow I managed to watch Stephen King's (much maligned) `Dreamcatcher' before I saw Phantoms and I found the two were pretty similar - both decent enough sci-fi/horror movies, but both also a bit flawed. Neither seems to know really which direction it's going and throws one new element into the mix after the next.

If you regularly watch sci-fi/horror B-movies, then Phantoms is definitely a cut above those. It's just a pity that it wasn't a bit more focused, otherwise it might have been a classic.

A generous 4/5 (probably more a 3.5/5).
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