Friday, August 11, 2017

Film Review: Phantasm 2 (1988)

Phantasm 2 (Review)
United States/1988
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"[compared to the original] ...this plays out more like an action-horror movie."

After being released from a psychiatric hospital, Mike (James LeGros) continues his hunt for The Tall Man.

Phantasm 2 is a direct sequel to the first film. In fact, it picks up exactly where the first film left off through a flashback. Anyway, Mike has been in a psychiatric hospital ever since his last encounter with The Tall Man. He pretends to understand that it was all part of his imagination, but only to escape the hospital. As soon as he's out, he reunites with Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Reggie believes Mike is a bit unstable, but a tragedy quickly convinces him otherwise. Together, the pair travel cross-country in search of The Tall Man—and they have an arsenal of homemade weapons, too. There's a bit more to the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything. You should know: I think it's absolutely necessary to watch the first film in order to truly enjoy this. (Besides, the original is great.) It leads to a good, abrupt ending.

Phantasm 2 features the same characters from the first film and continues the plot, but it's a different movie altogether. This sequel minimizes the surreal, dreamlike atmosphere of the first film. Instead, this plays out more like an action-horror movie. I mean, the film features a chainsaw battle, a homemade flamethrower, and a quadruple-barrel shotgun. It still has some surreal aspects thanks to Mike's visions, but it's so minuscule, it almost feels like it's not even there. Fortunately, that doesn't spoil the film. I still enjoyed witnessing Mike's hunt for The Tall Man. There are some suspenseful scenes, some bloody deaths, and it's still as creative as ever. It probably won't stay with me as long as the original, but it's not bad at all.

The acting was good, too. James LeGros performs well as the adult Mike. Reggie Bannister was also good. Angus Scrimm was stellar as The Tall Man—effortlessly ominous. The film looked good. I believe it uses most of the same music from the original. I loved the soundtrack anyway. The special effects were good. The film was written and directed by Don Coscarelli. Coscarelli shows he has range by creating an action-horror sequal out of a surreal horror film. And, he manages to delve deeper into the lore of The Tall Man without exposing too much. In fact, he might have exposed too little. Still, his storytelling is engaging, the story is creative, and the direction is great.

Overall, Phantasm 2 is a very good movie. It has a few flaws, it might not be as good as the original, but it's still very entertaining. If you liked the first movie and you'd like to watch a gorier version of that movie, this is worth checking out.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, nudity.

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