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The Frighteners

The Frighteners (1996)

July. 18,1996
| Horror Comedy

Once an architect, Frank Bannister now passes himself off as an exorcist of evil spirits. To bolster his facade, he claims his "special" gift is the result of a car accident that killed his wife. But what he does not count on is more people dying in the small town where he lives. As he tries to piece together the supernatural mystery of these killings, he falls in love with the wife of one of the victims and deals with a crazy FBI agent.


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One of my all time favorites.


I am only giving this movie a 1 for the great cast, though I can't imagine what any of them were thinking. This movie was horrible


This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.


I love getting back to the movies I've seen as a kid. You always find something new, something good or bad, some missed details, hidden messages and stuff. After watching this approximately 20 years after the first viewing I feel a little confused. It was interesting to see early Peter Jackson, see how some of his visual ideas have evolved, his love for cameos and stuff. It's interesting to see what changed inside him and what remained the same. This movie is a lot of things, it's very tonally different and this is one of the good things it has. However, this kind of draws the focus out of this movie. It drops additional plot lines half-way, forgetting about some characters and situations, introducing others and not developing those either. It keeps you wanting to see more, but never gives you enough to fully enjoy the moment. Starts like a Ghostbusters like movie, boom, now it's a comedy with bizarre characters, boom, now it's an action adventure, boom, now it's a drama about life and death, boom, it's a serial killer thriller... I'd still recommend you give this a try if you love cross-genre movies, 80's horror comedies , Ghostbusters and Michael J. Fox. It will, however, disappoint you at times, as well as leaving with a rushed unsatisfying ending as well.

Steven Ramirez

I got a chance to watch this cult movie (which means it didn't make any money) again after having only seen it once when it first came out, what, twenty years ago? And I'm here to tell you that I enjoyed it even more this time.There's a lot of wicked humor—not the least of which is provided by the talented John Astin as The Judge. What a hoot! And then there's the inimitable Jeffrey Combs as FBI special agent Milton Dammers. This guy looks like Adolph Hitler minus the moustache and with the edgy charm of Norman Bates on crack. I guess he felt he had set the bar in 'Re-Animator' and was obligated to outdo himself.Never mind about the plot—this isn't a movie review. Let me point out, though, that this thing has just about everything in it—including a serial killer, a haunted house and time travel. I'm not sure what New Zealanders dream of at night but some of their movies are pretty out there. To that point, Peter Jackson had previously co-written and directed the outrageous 'Dead Alive' (1992). So I guess Universal decided to give him a shot at a "mainstream" movie for them.And 'The Frighteners' isn't exactly mainstream. First off, it was shot in New Zealand using mostly American actors. Because of that it has a bit of a dreamy, unfamiliar quality to it. Interesting factoid: according to a Wikipedia article, the movie was originally supposed to be directed by Robert Zemeckis, who exec produced. After seeing the wicked 'Death Becomes Her' (1992), I think that wouldn't have been a bad idea.The only thing I have against this movie is the vfx, which were probably state-of-the- art at the time but whose quality, like that in 'Ghostbusters,' looks cheesy by today's standards. Which leads me to my next point.There aren't a lot of movies that should be remade IMO but this one could work. And, let's face it, you've got to get Woody Harrelson in there somewhere. CGI is so good now—not to mention IMAX—this thing is begging to be remade.


Fun movie which, as another reviewer commented, seems like it's out of the 80s when it was actually made in the mid-90s, although, for me personally, that is not a bad thing, since I enjoy a lot of stuff from 80s. This movie is a light action/comedy/horror mix and it plays very well with decent acting, production values and special effects. The unusual and pretty unpredictable story keeps moving, and I liked that the horror was not extreme, unlike so much that is produced today. (True horror fans aren't even going to acknowledge this movie as horror, but it's not far short of as much as I myself want to experience.) Whereas I can't really imagine watching this movie at a theater, since it really doesn't have that blockbuster vibe, it is perfect for a slow night at home on a big screen TV with popcorn and a coke.


Wow! Just watched this movie and what a trip it was!! I can't believe something as lame as Ghostbusters garnered all the attention while this gem was swept aside like the red-headed step-child. So many fantastic characters and twists and turns it made my head spin. I loved everything about this flick including the awesome special effects & the silly humour. Fox shone like he always does and the dude playing the insane FBI agent was brilliant!! Great story, wonderfully directed with great actors and a magic blend of hilarity, scariness, suspense, shocks and spookiness! I read some of the reviews here and can't believe how negative some of them are & the reasons they give for their negativity. eg "Oh boo hoo! It was awful coz the music sounded like some music I heard in another movie" and "Mr Jackson used CGI & expensive cameras and stuff & I don't think he should be allowed to, so I'm going to punish him with lower marks" etc etc Seriously? I think some people just love to be miserable.This is well worth seeing - it's just become one of my favourite movies. And now I just need to find (and buy) the Director's Cut for even more fun!