Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

A playful ode to ‘80s horror that never quite reaches its cult-classic potential

6.7

Movie

United States of America
English
Comedy, Horror, Romance
2024
FEMALE DIRECTOR, ZELDA WILLIAMS
Ashton Leigh, Bryce Romero, Carla Gugino
102 min

TLDR

The female actors who give their all make it watchable, the bumpy direction does not.

What it's about

After her mother dies, Lisa (Kathryn Newton) moves in with her stepdad’s family and starts senior year in a new school. Lonely, she visits a nearby grave where the man of her dreams (Cole Sprouse) magically comes to life one day.

The take

Written by Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body) and directed by Zelda Williams (daughter of the late Robin Williams), Lisa Frankenstein is a playful, funny, and stylish take on ‘80s horror and coming-of-age romcoms. Unfortunately, those traits alone are not enough to give the film the weight it needs to stand the test of time. There’s a clumsiness to the direction that, ironically enough, makes the film seem like parts lousily stitched together, instead of a coherent whole. There are pauses that are too long, transitions that feel off, and questions left unanswered. Why does it feel natural for Lisa to kill people? Was she close to her mom? What does her relationship with The Creature indicate, apart from the trite and obvious “outcasts must stick together”? Lisa Frankenstein doesn’t have to answer all these to be a good film, but when things are shallowly rendered, they become hard to ignore. It prioritizes pulpy gimmicks and visual gags that are admittedly fun to watch, but leaves behind equally important matters that flesh out Lisa as a person.

What stands out

All that said, Newton, Liza Soberano (who plays Lisa’s stepsister Taffy), and Carla Gugino (who plays her stepmom Janet) all give delightful, campy performances that somehow make the viewing worth it.

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