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Phantoms (1998)

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Plot Summary:
"In the peaceful town of Snowfield, Colorado something evil has wiped out the community. And now, its up to a group of people to stop it, or at least get out of Snowfield alive."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 18 August 2004 My Rating: out of 5


Dean Koontz or the lesser Stephen King, as we like to call him, has never had much success with any of his stories being translated to the big screen. Under par productions quite frankly, and with all fairness to Dean, fail to live up to the original material. Phantoms, unfortunately, is yet another prime example.

I personally have not read Koontz' original novel but of course to rip down a 450 paged book into a 90 minute movie is never easy. It is always going to involve stripping away a lot of the substance and other characteristically driven storytelling. And that's exactly how it feels here - condensed and untidy.

The story involves two sisters who travel to a small Colorado town and find that the local population are either laying dead in their homes or are completely missing. It's a pretty interesting start to the movie and one that should at least get the viewer filled with anticipation. We have to follow through the event with the characters and try to understand what exactly is happening. However, the local law enforcement show up.

Ben Affleck storms into the movie with his big hat and gun. And pretty much from this point it goes down hill. I have never really been a fan of Ben Affleck and regrettably sat and watched this quite recently with calamities such as Daredevil, Gigli and Pearl Harbour still fresh in my mind. But I don't suppose you can blame him for the uninteresting dialogue, simply the fact that he chose this project at all, even if it was probably part of his New Line agreement.

Voices on the phone lines and other strange unexplainable phenomenon ensue. Which is what you almost certainly should expect from a film entitled Phantoms. Eventually the military, scientists and historian Timothy Flyte (played by legendary actor Peter O'Toole - why are you here Peter!) show up to help stop the madness. Then there's some psycho babble, general 'we know how to kill it' science crap and that's pretty much it.

Phantoms is neither particularly scary or particularly appealing. I try to pinpoint a specific target audience who would want to watch this tosh but fail miserably. Live Schrieber is fairly interesting to watch. Ben Affleck isn't and Peter O'Toole seems to have been shamelessly led into this project like a lamb to the slaughter.

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