LISA FRANKENSTEIN – “Takes franken-sized risks that (mostly) pay off in garishly fun ways”

LF

RATING

DIRECTOR

Directed by: Zelda Williams (Feature Directorial Debut)

MAIN CAST

Kathryn Newton as Lisa
Cole Sprouse as monster
Liza Soberano as Taffy
Henry Eikenberry as Michael Trent

SYNOPSIS

A misunderstood teenager and a reanimated corpse embark on a murderous journey to find love, happiness and a few missing body parts.

REVIEW SUMMARY

Lisa Frankenstein, an 80s undead love story, takes franken-sized risks that (mostly) pay off in garishly fun ways. It’s clear that this film was made with a heavy dose of nostalgia front of mind. And, what can I say, the throwback 80s horror/comedy vibe is off the charts. The movie plays like Edward Scissorhands meets Heathers – mixing all the bubble-gum bright and gawdy goodness that the late 80s had to offer with Tim Burtonesque weirdness. So, needless to say, the set design, costumes, and makeup are all A-grade great, as is the retro soundtrack for that matter. But, while the film nailed the requisite look and feel, the overall narrative is a lot more uneven. For one, there’s a great deal of tonal shifts throughout. It’s campy horror one minute and then teen rom com the next. Add in a healthy dose of sitcom-level comedy and it all gets a bit messy more times than not. Luckily, the dialogue is witty, and performances inspired. Cole Sprouse is an effective heartthrob monster, easily bringing the charm without even speaking a word (it’s just grunts and moans until the final scene). Kathryn Newton, on the other hand, is a whole vibe all her own as the titular Lisa. She truly embraces the crazy and goes all in with the wild child 80s schtick. But, even with our lead duo’s committed turns, the film never quite finds its groove. Because it’s so hectic, there’s little time to connect with any of it. Plus, one or two standout moments aside, nothing overly memorable happens. In fact, the film could have benefited from an R-rating to give some scenes a bigger bite (although, I hear one does exist). Alas, Lisa Frankenstein lacks the nuts and bolts to make it a cohesive viewing experience.

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