Phantoms

Creepy goings-on in an isolated town add up to formulaic but smoothly executed chills for horror fans. Dr. Jenny Pailey (Joanna Going) brings her teenage sister Lisa (Rose McGowan) to stay with her in tiny Snowfield, far from their alcoholic mother and the temptations of L.A. But an unpleasant surprise awaits: The normally cheerful town is deserted, except...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Creepy goings-on in an isolated town add up to formulaic but smoothly executed chills for horror fans. Dr. Jenny Pailey (Joanna Going) brings her teenage sister Lisa (Rose McGowan) to stay with her in tiny Snowfield, far from their alcoholic mother and the

temptations of L.A. But an unpleasant surprise awaits: The normally cheerful town is deserted, except for the nasty-looking corpses they keep finding in all the worst places. Sheriff Hammond (Ben Affleck) and deputies Wargel (Liev Schreiber) and Shanning (Nicky Katt) turn up later and prove no

help at all: The phones are out and no cars will start, so they all have to hole up in an old hotel, the better to be tormented by flickering lights, scary phone calls, highly personal hallucinations and inexplicable noises. Then the Army rolls in with an armored mobile research station and

disgraced academic turned tabloid hack Timothy Flyte (Peter O'Toole), who was drummed out of Oxford for expounding his wacko theories about some mysterious "ancient enemy" responsible for inexplicable mass disappearances throughout history. That's when things start getting really scary.

Adapted from the 1983 novel by best-selling horror writer Dean Koontz, this is pretty standard stuff served up pretty well. Director Joe Chapelle knows how to stage a spooky scene, and Going and McGowan supply a refreshing alternative to the shrieking bimbos so familiar to horror fans. O'Toole,

looking shockingly thin but otherwise dapper, appears to be having a very jolly time, which is to say that he hams it up shamelessly.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Creepy goings-on in an isolated town add up to formulaic but smoothly executed chills for horror fans. Dr. Jenny Pailey (Joanna Going) brings her teenage sister Lisa (Rose McGowan) to stay with her in tiny Snowfield, far from their alcoholic mother and the… (more)

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