phantasm | phantasm: ravager | sequel | phantasm 5 | phantasm v | david hartman | don coscarelli | a. michael baldwin | reggie bannister | dawn cody | action | fantasy | united states | the tall man | gloria lynne henry | stephen jutras | kathy lester | angus scrimm
Film: Phantasm: Ravager
Director: David Hartman
Writer: Don Coscarelli and David Hartman
Starring: Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin and Dawn Cody
Now I’m a big fan of the original film and even the second sequel. The story has been complex from the beginning and with each film they keep getting weirder, as this is the fifth film in the series. The official synopsis for this installment is the final installment of the long-running Phantasm series.
This film definitely gets even weirder. I went back and forth with how I felt about the film, because I have problems that they are trying to play off that all of this was in the mind of Reggie (Reggie Bannister) due to having dementia. I don’t think this was originally how they were going to play it off, but that was the idea that came up. I actually ended up liking it as it plays out though. What makes it great is that he will enter a doorway and then be back in the hospital, waking up from a dream. He will then be back in after he does something else so it gives the film a weird, surreal feeling, which is par for these films. They bring back people who have died, but that is another aspect of these films so that didn’t bother me either. I felt this one was a decent closure as it ties up all of the loose ends and bringing back as many of the characters as well.
As to the acting, Bannister is great in this character. I think a lot of that is he has been playing it for so long that it is really him. I thought it was interesting that the idea of this was originally going to be a web series following him, but then it was extended into this film. A. Michael Baldwin was good for the same reason as Bannister, he’s been this character for so long that I feel it is him. The only time he doesn’t appear as Mike is the second film and that was due to studio interference. I thought he was solid in rapping up this character in the film. Dawn Cody doesn’t get a lot of time on screen, but she wasn’t bad. She does appear as two different characters, which also fits the film. Angus Scrimm doesn’t get a lot of time either and he isn’t as menacing as in the past, but a lot of that was due to his age. It was good seeing him doing the role one last time before he passed away. The rest of the cast was good in their supporting roles as well.
Now I did have some issues with the CGI used in this film. I get that it was used for the spheres, because it allows them to do more than they could in the past. It is hard to fault them, but it didn’t look real and hurt the film for me. Some of the blood was CGI as well, which also hurt the film. Some of it seems to be practical effects, which I liked. The editing was tricky and I will give them credit, going back and forth between the hospital Bannister and the one that is fighting the Tall Man. It doesn’t build enough tension though by doing this. The soundtrack also didn’t stand out to me, so it doesn’t hurt or help.
With that said, this film wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. This film can’t really be viewed by itself, because a lot of what happens will be lost on the viewer who hasn’t seen the whole series or at least the first two films. If you look at it as a film to close the series, it is slightly above average. The story is confusing, but that is something this series is known for. It doesn’t have the same eerie feel that the other films seem to have either. The acting is good and the supporting characters aren’t bad either. The CGI does hurt the film for me. The editing was tricky so I will give them credit, but it doesn’t build the tension to draw you in. The soundtrack also doesn’t help or hurt the film. I felt this one could have been better, but it was a good homage to the stars of the film and brings back all the characters they can to end it. For that it was okay, but as I’ve said, it is only a slightly above average film. I also plan to rewatch the whole series, including this film to see if that alters my rating as I haven’t seen the previous films in quite some time.
My Rating: 6 out of 10