Phantasm: Ravager (2016) (Movie Review)
Directed By: David Hartman
Starring: Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, Kathy Lester
Check Out On Demand Today (October 4th)
Phantasm: Ravager is an all-new film that brings one of cinema’s longest-running franchises (36 years!) without a reboot to a close, with Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and Reggie (Reggie Banister) teaming up to confront the dimension-hopping Tall Man (Angus Scrimm, in his final role) once and for all.
I remember being very happy when I learned a new Phantasm movie was in the works. I admit I was happy but also a bit torn because while I felt the series wrapped up in a very good a Phantasm-ish way with the last film, the idea of seeing everyone from Reggie to The Tall Man again was almost too good to throw shade at. Now, however, after a long wait, I saw Phantasm: Ravager and I have to say the time for throwing some shade is certainly now. First and foremost I will again say that it was great seeing Reggie, The Tall Man, Mike, and even Rocky. Seeing the evil dwarfs, the lady in lavender, and all those spears is a sight that any horror loving fan of the Phantasm will enjoy seeing. The trouble is with Ravager is there is no substance to this nostalgia. In fact, nostalgia is all you get and that isn’t good enough to make you overlook the shoddy ways of this film. If I am to call it like I see it, then I’d have to say that Ravager plays out like someone took a DSLR camera and made a Phantasm fan film but somehow got the original cast to play along. The jump from film to digital is something we’ve all had to accept and deal with but Phantasm seems like a duck out of water here in this form. It looks very cheaply made in part and while I can look over some of the CGI there are times when things really needed to be nipped in the bud on quality control before this one ever seen the light of day. The film already seems uneven but the quality of the look seems to vary and also make things seem disjointed at times. And this isn’t even getting started on the actual plot of the film yet.
So, the movie is billed as the end of the Phantasm series but I will go ahead and say after seeing this you will have more questions than answers. This isn’t really about Mike here nor The Tall Man, this is a Reggie story. He’s looking for Mike, we’re seeing him meet people that die and then pop back up later, we hardly see The Tall Man (maybe due to the sad death of Angus), and the story jumps between two different times periods taking place at the same time that just become more confusing and not the typical good Phantasm style confusion way we’re used to. Nothing here feels settled once the dust clears and you feel as if we’re waiting for the story to get kicked into gear and it never does seem to fully do that. It’s too disjointed for its own good and while Reggie is a fun character I think we needed a little more stuff with Mike than the small brushed over stuff we end up with. Look, I know we all love Phantasm. Phantasm is one of my favorite movies ever and the others make-up a weird and atmospheric franchise that I hold in very high regards. But we can’t let our love for the series and our sorrow for the death of Angus Scrimm get in the way of our good judgment when it comes to this film. This is not a good movie and when compared to the other Phantasm films it is downright awful in delivery and gives us nothing but disappointment. Not only is Phantasm: Ravager perhaps the most disappointing horror film of the decade, it might just be the worst horror film of the year.