Phantoms (1998) Poster

(1998)

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7/10
Beware that Thing which Lives Forever
Bogmeister13 August 2005
Inappropriately titled, like the book itself by Koontz, Phantoms is a surprisingly effective monster movie, especially in the first half. The best monsters are the ones which are very difficult to kill; in addition, these types of monsters can destroy fragile human beings with ease. This is what is confronted here, with humans little more than insects to be crushed and absorbed. Of course, certain insects can cause a lot of damage when they put their minds to it. The atmosphere in the first half hour is very eerie and there's a lot of mystery. You have pretty much an empty town, a couple of young women just arrived, and a couple of bodies - no answers. That gloom & foreboding of doom may not be too difficult to create, but we hardly see it anymore, even in horror films. Even if one has seen this film, however, they may be compelled to watch that first half hour again just to get that sense of doom all over. When some cops show up, things get even worse. Then an entire army shows up and, of course, we think things are under control now, but it makes no difference. At least the pic is consistent with its menace.

This picture was virtually ignored on release and I don't think video has helped it much. When the monster is revealed, it obviously takes away all the suspense built up earlier, but it's still creepy going (without revealing too much, the monster is a more advanced version of a famous one from the fifties; think also along the lines of "The Thing" remake by Carpenter in '82). Writer Koontz was involved in the adaptation, which always seems to help. Actor O'Toole appears around the midway point as the only so-called expert on the creature, all based on conjecture, of course. He lends a bit of gravity to it all, tho I suppose he's slumming here in a 'typical' fright flic. The rest of the younger cast do fine, with Affleck a bit irritating as usual. I'm not sure what Schreiber was aiming at, but he was almost as creepy as the creature. There's a bit of a twist ending, which wasn't really necessary.
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3/10
At least give credit to Alcanivorax borkumensis.
Fella_shibby29 October 2020
I first saw this in the late 90s on cable tv. Revisited it recently. The Blob remake is much much better than this lousy film.

In this film nothing happens for almost an hour except squeaking sounds, flickering lights, shaky cam, lots of darkness, some dead bodies. Then almost aft an hour the film copies a bit from Alien n The Thing. The ending is a big meh.
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8/10
a very entertaining horror/sci-fi
Van_Zan21 January 2002
Phantoms is a cracking film...I'm slightly reluctant to admit this given it's standing (and the fact it stars Ben Affleck) but I went into it with low expectations and enjoyed it thoroughly. Its a fast paced piece of sci-fi/horror hokum with some great shock moments that'll have you jumping out of your seat or cowering behing the sofa..If you're looking for a scary film for Halloween that doesnt revolt, try this.
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9/10
Intelligent, atmospheric and highly under-appreciated.
willywants4 February 2004
In the peaceful town of Snowfield, Colorado something evil has wiped out the community. And now, it's up to a group of people to stop it, or at least get out of Snowfield alive. The first time I saw "Phantoms", I liked it, but didn't think too much of it. Recently deciding to rent it again for the hell of it, this film is so much better than the previous viewing, I mean REALLY good, one of the best Hollywood-produced horror films I've seen in a while, not to mention THE best Dean Koontz adaptation. Joe Chappelle, who's films in the past unfortunately haven't been very good, does an excellent job directing here, delivering a dark & genuinely haunting atmosphere, not to mention great cinematography and a strong visual style. This film proves he's capable of directing a good movie if he's given a strong script. Oh, that brings me to the script, which Koontz penned himself, having been (Quite understandably) disappointed in the previous adaptations, has done an excellent job with the screenplay. Not only is it intelligent and thought-provoking but is also tightly written. When was the last time we got a SMART horror film? OK, there are plenty out there, but not many that Hollywood have made recently, mind you! Performance-wise, everyone does a great job here, especially the creepy Liev Schreiber (scream 2). Special effects are carefully used, few and far between but generally quite good. Once we finally see the creature it's kind of disappointing (I wish they had used the giant winged serpent described in the book) and quite vague. There's some nice gore too.

"Phantoms" is a smart, creepy, underrated horror gem that deserves better than it's gotten and really makes you think.

9/10.
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7/10
Not bad...but should be credited as a remake
Vigilante-40718 July 2001
This may have been based on a Dean Koontz novel, but Phantoms should acknowledge itself as being an unofficial remake of an old Hammer Studios film, X The Unknown, with which it shares it's main antagonist. The only real difference is that Phantoms lends a more mystical slant to the idea (though primarily just at the beginning of the movie).

As a horror film, this movie is fun...very reminiscent of a good old 50's or 60's horror movie that immediately immerses you in the situation. The one problem with the film is that each character is interesting by themselves, but they don't really gel together that well as a whole. Peter O'Toole is at his quirky best, and Ben Affleck is always enjoyable, so it's really hard to complain about that.

The SFX are okay to middling, but work well with the atmospheric cinematography.

Definitely worth a rent!
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10/10
Surprisingly effective and scary horror/thriller.
jiangliqings13 June 2001
*** out of ****

Dean Koontz isn't exactly the world's most prolific author. As a writer, he has the tendency to basically re-state his themes and plots over and over. His movie adaptations are usually messy, as clearly seen by such films as Hideaway and Sole Survivor. Thus, it comes as a surprise that Phantoms is an often terrifying thriller; it's not particularly original, but it delivers the thrills and suspense that it promises .

Dr. Jenny Pailey (Joanna Going) is bringing her younger sister, Lisa (Rose Mcgowan), home from L.A. to the small quiet town of Snowfield, Colorado. It's a peaceful environment to live in, with a population of 400, and the town has some nice ski resorts that make it a popular site during the summer. Upon returning, however, they discover everyone either missing or dead, with bodies that have a strange gooey look to it. They try to leave, but find their car and every other vehicle in town dead.

Exploring further, they enter a bakery, where they encounter Sheriff Bryce Hammond (Ben Affleck) and his two deputies, Shanning (Nicky Katt) and Stu Wargle (Liev Schrieber). As they look further into town, they discuss what could have possibly caused this massive disappearance and all these deaths. The mysterious cause behind this hasn't ended, however, and as the night progresses, Shanning is taken by an unseen presence. Hammond and the others must now try to survive the night and hope they can get off a message to the outside world of their plight.

Phantoms is a surprise on almost every level. It's a well-made thriller from Joe Chappelle, whose only previous major credit was Halloween 6, usually regarded as the worst of the Halloween sequels. He may have seemed like a dubious choice to direct this film, but he does a fine job, creating heavy doses of suspense through some clever uses in the small-town setting and the suggestion of an unseen force lurking around every corner.

The film is overall scary, working best when you have no idea what's causing this terror. The unknown is far more frightening, and Chappelle wisely plays this fun material for all it's worth, creating many eerie sequences, such as a slow exploration inside a hotel, the creepy use of Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces," and an encounter with a giant moth that is positively heart-pounding. For approximately an hour, Chappelle keeps mounting the tension level in, throwing in a good amount of horror and suspense into the proceedings in a relentless manner.

The last half-hour isn't as successful because of it's need to slow down and explain everything. While all movies like this need to do that, for nearly 20 minutes the movie loses most of its suspense when the characters discuss to each other all the things they know about this mysterious presence. These moments are a bit messy due to the lack of some coherence in putting all the ideas in place. Thankfully, Chappelle brings back the horror and suspense that was so effective in the first hour back into the last ten minutes, and the film ends on a tense note. The finale's reliance on special effects slightly dims some of the highly suspenseful suggestive forces at work that was so effective in the first hour, but Chappelle still keeps the action moving.

Dean Koontz's script is somwhat successful. He builds in some intriguing ideas that are never fully explored, but to his credit, he had budgetary limitations and had to work with a 96-minute running time. As a result, the pacing is often so fast, you'll probably wish the film was at least another 15 minutes long.

The script is sometimes heavily reliant on many horror cliches, including people walking into dangerous places alone, which is something a character in this sort of film should learn not to do. But Chappelle still handles these scenes remarkably well, creating suspense in certain spots when it often hasn't worked in other movies. There are also some lapses in logic, but they can be ignored rather easily.

The film has many strong elements. The visual effects are quite good, such as the giant moth and the other strange creature designs. The setting is among the film's best assets. Smalll towns are usually great places to hide an unseen menace and this film pulls it off quite well. Many of the empty buildings, mainly the hotel and the police station, are great set-ups for some well-done setpieces.

The cast is good, and is one of the main reasons this thriller is as effective as it is. After having seen so many badly acted thrillers (i.e. Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer), it's great to see a talented cast at work. Ben Affleck is fine and charismatic in the lead role; he's a strong presence and creates a likable character, as he usually does in his films. The lovely Joanna Going is likewise equally good as the film's strong female character. She brings dignity and class to her performance. Liev Schrieber and Peter O'Toole are perhaps the scene stealers, with their mostly successful attempts at humor. Schrieber is mostly over-the-top, and often creepy, while O'Toole is wry and sarcastic. It's a bit odd to see such a legendary actor in a film like this, but he plays the role in the right manner. The only weak link in the acting is Rose Mcgowan, who seems more suited for jokey, "hip" horror films rather than a serious one, and she's sorely out of place here.

David Williams' score is creepy and good in creating some tension. It sounds somewhat derivative of the works of Ennio Morricone, but it still blends well into the film. The score is mostly a series of repeating notes, but it actually never becomes a slight annoyance, like John Carpenter's repetitious score in Prince of Darkness.

The final scenes is among the movie's flaws. It's slightly darkly humorous, as it is intended to be, but this ending has been done so often, it's become rather tiresome by now. It's obvious Koontz has become influenced by far too many modern-day horror films.

Phantoms isn't a classic film, since it has its own flaws and doesn't delve deeply into some interesting ideas, but it blends action and horror into a suspenseful and often scary mixture, with non-stop thrills and tension that keep the material fun to watch, even if the story's not always logical. Phantoms is a film good for many chills on a dark evening.
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Demons With an Oily Presence Take over a Small Town
rick.spencer216 November 2000
Phantoms is one of my favorite horror/sci-fi films of all time (which is saying a lot). I've seen it several times and I find it still is entertaining. I actually purchased the book after I viewed the film and now it is one of my favorite books as well. Ben Affleck is good as the hero in the film. This was made before he made it as a big time star. Even Peter O' Toole does a very credible job as a "National Enquirer" type reporter. The tension is well placed throughout the movie. What I really enjoyed about the story was as the audience you didn't really see what the creature(s) looked like during the movie. You were given bits and pieces (pardon the pun) of this "monster" throughout the movie. Even as the movie ended it left it wide open for a sequel, which probably won't happen because it did not do well at the box office. However, if another movie company did decide to make a sequel, direct to video, I would be the first to rent it. I really did not want the movie to end. That is how much I enjoyed it. I'm sure you will to.
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6/10
Not the awful movie everybody says
erixal15 December 2004
First of all a consideration: you are in a town besieged by an unknown entity, you are not a cop, but a girl. You hear a noise in a room that should be absolutely empty. Do you turn around slowly and slowly go to look what made that noise? HELL NO! You run away screaming like hell, find a fire weapon and annihilate anything you see. Said this, let's talk about movie.

The concept is really cute and the casting is good, but the characters are "thrown" in the story with no background and this can be a fault... The scaring parts are really predictable: music slowly increasing, than stops like "hm everything's alright" then "BAAAW!" someone or something pops out. I could turn the volume down every time there was a scary noise part in time :-)

The ending is also a bit poor and with the classic "I'll be back!" style.

However, not less than 6/10
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Fun rip off of somepast sci-fi greats
monstermania10 July 2002
This film was a fascinating melding of various classics and not-so-classics of the creature feature genre done with style. It did exactly what a good B-movie Sci-fi should do: Rip off better films and do it knowingly with tongue firmly in cheek. The cast was interesting and had decent star power for the grade of motion picture (film legend Peter O'Toole, "Scream 2" Star Liev Schreiber, Ben Affleck and "Boston Publics" Nicky Katt"), except for Rose McGowan, who, as talented as she is, was way too old to play a 14-year-old. It was also good to see Ben Affleck not trying to win awards in some silly Michael Bay movie. Whoever did the makeup effects must have seen 1989's "Leviathan" and the script had elements of the movies "Leviathan," "The Thing," "Virus" and even the remake of "The Blob" (the final scene had shots that were exactly the same, minus the snow machine, of course) In short, if you are kicking back and want to see something with some cool effects but not much thought, rent this and have some fun.
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9/10
High expectations give a good movie a bad wrap
AdamCRW7910 November 2001
Anyone who has read Dean Koontz's novel can appreciate what I have to say here. The book was absolutely amazing. I started it and absolutely could not put it down. The suspense was killing me. I read it over and over and...you get the idea. I had no idea that a movie was made of it until I was REALLY bored with looking through the New-Releases at Blockbuster, trying to find a good horror flick. Mind you, that is almost an impossible task these days. Anyways, I started browsing the horror section when the word Phantoms jumped out at me. This peaked my curiosity, so I picked it up and, sure enough, it was based on my favorite horror novel. So, I rented it and was expecting something mind-blowing. Well, that wasn't exactly what I got. I got an EXTREMELY chopped up version of a great book where my favorite parts were cut. I was so disappointed and decided that I hated the movie. Later, a friend came over and had rented some movies. Phantoms was in the mix. He had never seen it, so I didn't want to ruin it for him by saying no. So, I watched it again, and his reaction was pure excitement throughout the entire flick. He loved it and wanted to watch it again. At this point, I was up for it just to see what HIS fuss was all about. If I were in his shoes and had never read the novel (forgive me for saying that), I would have loved it too. It really was good. Word of advice: DO NOT READ THE BOOK FIRST! You will miss out on what could be a great horror movie experience for you.
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7/10
Ben Affleck Is Da Bomb In Phantoms Y'all
daveblythe693 January 2003
Ben kicks ass in a great little romp, destined to go down in cinematic history through the references in JASBSB. a great performance from all involved, clever story and an equally good if not better script curtosy of having the Author being there! becomes quite eerie and uses some good effects. a convenient movie full of coincidences, a few holes are left in the plot tho because of this. this being said it does start to drift off towards the end. not to take anything away from it a thoughrally enjoyable movie. Not a must see, but well worth watching.
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Dean Koontz novel gets better-than-average execution on screen
kibler@adelphia.net12 September 2003
Phantoms (1998) Ben Affleck, Peter O' Toole, Rose McGowan, Joanna Going, Liev Schreiber, Nicky Katt, Clifton Powell, D: Joe Chappelle. When two sisters drive into a small Colorado town, they find the whole place depopulated, but corpses keep turning up. What caused it: disease or something else? Enter sheriff Affleck and his snickering deputy (Schreiber), who are just as clueless about these unexplained happenings as they are. Then an army of scientists and a professor-turned-tabloid journalist (O' Toole) come into the scene, discovering what wiped out the 500 residents came from deep underground. Better-than-average from a Dean Koontz novel, written by its author and well-acted for a thriller this ridiculous, that really pushes your buttons with suspenseful scenes and doesn't need to rely fully on special effects. O' Toole's character makes little sense, and we don't believe Affleck's chief graduated from Harvard. Running Time: 91 minutes and rated R for sci-fi violence, gore, and language. ** ½
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10/10
Affleck is the bomb in Phantoms yo!
phantomsisthebomb2 February 2013
oh my god this movie is the bomb. Affleck is in the movie. Affleck is the bomb in Phantoms you. Creepy time and time watches and voices and screaming. It also has that dude that was Sabertooth in this movie. Creeoy time watching this one. Is that a bird!? No its Phantoms! Affleck is the sheriff, and hes gotta save these dumb white girls from the whole creepy town. There is this giant moth thing that eats this cops face, its pretty sick yo. Affleck cant save everyone. its a rough life in small strange town backwards hick America. Oh and by the way, don't go rolling into strange town America and walk into grannies house and try to eat pumpkin pie with bloody heads all over it yo.

This one is for you shock, Its Phantoms!
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PRETTY SCARY
bazdol17 April 1999
I thought this quite a scary science fiction/horror film. I would compare it favorably to "Wishmaster," for example.

The special effects were up to par. Peter O'Toole did seem a bit uncomfortable in his role, but the other actors did OK given the limited character development of their parts.

The typical "There Will be a Another" ending was supplied. You just can't get rid of those darned worms it seems
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6/10
The Thing's long lost cousin (sort of) in an isolated town in the mountains of Colorado
Wuchakk15 September 2018
Two sisters (Rose McGowan & Joanna Going) visit a town in the Rockies, which is mysteriously absent of people except for a few corpses. They eventually encounter a Sheriff (Ben Affleck) and his deputies as the mystery deepens (Liev Schreiber plays one of the deputies). Peter O'Toole is on hand as an eccentric British writer who assists the group while Clifton Powell plays the commanding officer of an Army unit sent to the town.

The movie came out in 1998 and was written by heralded horror author Dean Koontz (both the screenplay and the novel). The story is basically "The Thing" (1982) set in a Rockies town with various nuances, like the addition of two females. Speaking of whom, Rose and Joanna have stunning faces, but their beauty is never really capitalized on in the film. Joanna, for instance, wears ridiculously baggy tan slacks the entire runtime.

The first half is nice & mysterious with several genuinely creepy sequences whereas the second half focuses on the incredible source of the horror and the complexities thereof. People complain about the latter portions, and I can see where they're coming from, but I like the way the protagonists put their heads together to try to figure out and defeat the diabolical phenomenon.

The film runs 1 hour, 36 minutes and was shot in Georgetown, Colorado.

GRADE: B-
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6/10
The Ancient Enemy
sol12181 August 2005
**SPOILERS** Kicked of of the faculty of the prestigious Oxford University because of his off-the-wall theories Prof. Timothy Flyte, Peter O'Toole, now writes for the supermarket tabloid Wide World News. You could imagine the surprise he had when one evening he was visited by these two FBI agents Hawtthorne & Wilson, Bo Hopkins & Robert Knepper.

It seems that Flyte was on to something in his writings of mysterious disappearances all throughout history since the beginning of life on earth. The disappearance of entire civilizations like the Mayans in 610 AD the English colony of Roanoke in the new world in 1590 and even more recently the 3,000 Chinese soldiers who vanished without a trace outside the city on Nanking in December 1939. This thing that was responsible, according to Flyte, for these strange phenomena has struck again and this time in the small town of Snowfield Colorado.

Sisters Jennifer & Lisa Pailey, Janna Going & Rose McGowan, traveling to Snowfield, where Jennifer runs a medical clinic, from L.A. they find the town eerily deserted. When the two sisters check into Jennifers home they find her maid Helda dead. Looking from house to house and store to store in Snowfield they find that everyone in town had either died of some mysterious disease or were hacked to death. It wasn't until the local sheriff Bryce Hammond, Ben Afflect, and his two deputies Stu Wargel & Steve Shanning, Live Schriber & Nicky Katt, came on the scene that they all realized that something out of, or under, this world happened to the people of Snowfield. The only clue that they had was a message scrawled in lipstick on a locked bathroom mirror stating "The Ancient Enemy, Thimothy Flyte".

Even though the story is a bit hard to follow the film "Phantoms" does have it shocks and thrills with the human race battling this ancient enemy that has resurfaced again to claim it's share of victims like it did over and over on earth since time immemorial. Living off life on earth these "phantoms" are not only able to wipe out whole towns cities or even civilizations they can even mimic their victims and absorb their minds and memories as well as their flesh and blood. Which makes them almost invincible even in the face of modern scientific and military technology.

The ending of the movie "Phantoms" was even more far fetched with Prof. Flyte coming up with this chemical component that has to do with cleaning up oil spills that does in the "Ancient Enemy" of all Mankind once and for all, or does it?

The movie has a very young and teenage-looking Ben Afflect playing not only the town's sheriff Bryce Hammond but also being a Harvard graduate as well as a former FBI agent who quit because he killed a little boy by accident and never wanted to touch a gun again. You wonder why Bryce would later get a job as a sheriff where he's obligated to not only carry but very possibly use handguns if he's so spooked by them?
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6/10
Affleck was the bomb in phantoms
ultimate_dare_devil30 June 2002
a good film, good story, good performance's again another good film affleck was the better performer of all the cast enjoyable flick something to just stick in and escape reality for 90 mins. most people i know didnt like phantoms, but i did, good fun,

6 out of 10
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An Interesting Idea...
Impartial-Critic26 May 2020
And that's all! This movie has nothing more to offer...The story is around a couple of sisters travel to a resort town of Snowfield, Colorado. Once they reach the place they found out that almost all residents are missing and the rest is dead, with the aid of the town's sheriff and his diabetes they try to uncover the mystery.

The idea sounds different and entertaining, The movie has an OK first half but once the old guy shows up the whole thing turns into a bs fest With depending only on jump scares and failing to provide a scary plot. I'd consider it a mindless mediocrely acted and directed fun especially it's first half, yet it is full of goofy, disjointed and full of gapes story line. I believe it'd mainly be enjoyable for the audience who are interested into the mindless Jump scares kind of movies.
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8/10
Familiar and Flawed but Entertaining Sci/Fi Thriller.
hu67530 June 2005
Two Sisters (Joanna Going & Rose McGowen) arrived in a small town in the state of Colorado. The town appears empty and they find dead bodies in this seemingly peaceful town. The sisters find Three Sheriffs alive (Oscar-Winner:Ben Affleck, Liev Schreiber & Nicky Katt). The Survivors find themselves fighting a Ferious Force of Evil lying below the earth for Centuries. But to save themselves, they need the help of a noted tabloid journalist (Peter O'Toole) who understand the Cause of Evil. Now they have surfaced with the power to destroy every human on the planet.

Directed by Joe Chappelle (Halloween 6:The Curse of Micheal Myers) made a entertaining, sometimes scary sci/fi thriller. Good Performances does help a lot from the Cast, especially the amusing Preverted role of Schreiber as the deputy is funny. This film was a Box Office disappointment in the winter of 1998. The film is quickly forgotten now but the film is better than expected with echoes from The Body Snatchers films, Event Horizon and John Carpenter's The Thing. The film is also fairly suspenseful.

DVD has an sharp non-anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an terrific-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD Offers no extras, which is too bad but the film speaks itself. Based on a Novel by Dean Koontz (The Funhouse, Odd Thomas, Watchers). Knootz did wrote the Screenplay from his Novel. He is also One of the Executive Producers of the Film. (****/*****).
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2/10
Why are these people in this movie?
easter.egg10 January 2003
I admit that I've never read a Dean Koontz book, but I have nothing against the horror genre. I watched this movie mainly because Peter O'Toole is in it, and I also like Rose McGowan for her edgy roles.

I was impressed, but not in a good way, by three things. First, the cinematography was awful. Badly shot, it had special effects that looked like special effects instead of being part of the movie. The whole thing looked amateurish, as if it was shot to be a CBS after-school movie (was it?)

Secondly, the dialogue and it's delivery was very weak. The lines were delivered as if they were the best words ever to be said on screen and not part of the dialogue, which would have been a better choice. In short, it came across over-acted. Very strange considering there is some real talent in this one.

The last thing is the story. Not to slam Koontz - maybe it's not his error- but there doesn't seem to be any consistency or reasoning in the characters. Why is Shreiber's character such a happy goof in the face of such danger? No reason. Why are McGowan's and Going's characters able to pick up shotguns and shoot them like they've been using them all their lives? No reason. For that matter, how is a dentist able to calmly give an autopsy on a gory, faceless corpse that has just been brutally murdered by a supernatural force? no reason. Why not, I guess...

This movie left me wondering why it was made so poorly, and more importantly why, in 1998, when most of these actors had decent careers, did they choose to be in this garbage?
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7/10
90's
yusufpiskin3 January 2021
An atmospheric Lovecraftian horror. Takes a simple, but focused and no nonsense approach and it works well. There's pretty much zero downtime and it does a good job building tension.
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7/10
Affleck versus the slime monster
ctomvelu-115 March 2009
PHANTOMS is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Based on a Dean Koontz story, it takes place in a small town that is being consumed by a primordial force, which is essentially The Blob with shape-shifting ability. A young doctor and her sister arrive in town at the worst possible moment, and are saved from the creature by Sheriff Benjamin Affleck and Deputy Barney Fife -- oops, I mean Liev Schreiber, who plays creepy quite convincingly here. Peter O'Toole later shows up as a government-recruited scientist's who may know something about the ancient creature. He is escorted by Army troops. After that, it's a battle to the death. The first half of the movie is suspenseful and a mystery as to why the town is dying. The second half is a standard monster movie, not dissimilar to the 1982 remake of THE THING. Affleck is a bit young to play a sheriff, but he's the star of th show, so go with it. You won't be sorry.
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6/10
This ancient enemy needs a host.
lost-in-limbo18 October 2008
I couldn't help but feel this one was a real lost opportunity. Within the late 90's there was a stew of teenage slashers, but Dean Koontz's 'Phantoms' could've been a diamond in the rough. Alas good intentions go to waste. I'm pretty much on the same wave with the viewers who believe it starts off better than it actually finishes. After such a truly atmospheric build up of blistering intensity and engulfing mystery in the first 50 minutes it eventually loses steam and the over-explained concept transcends in to routine silliness. There's still something smartly conceived in Kootz's innovative screenplay, but how they went about executing it came off rather breezy and daft. More thought was needed after that strong opening.

Director Joe Chappelle gets out of what is a b-film at heart, some professional gloss, smooth photography and the engineered special effects aren't too bad and looking convincing. The jolts work early on because they're well placed, timed and used in an effective manner, but soon enough they become downtrodden and predictably tired. Sometimes humour working its way in and spoiling the underlining tension. However some of the action scenes midway offer few nasty surprises. But really where the story decides to head after the evil entity reveals its true intentions just destroys that edgy mood formed. Again in comes the military crack force and scientists who underestimated the problem.

Performances are tolerable. Rose McGowen and Joanna Going shape up fairly. Ben Affleck cruises through it with little to no effort and Peter O'Toole just shows up and emit's some class. Liev Schreiber performance was an odd one, because of his shady/ unusual character.

After being plunged right in it, the eeriness soon wears off to be nothing more than your forgettable monster feature.
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7/10
The Rumor's True: Ben Affleck Is The Bomb In This Film
gavin694212 September 2006
Ben Affleck is a sheriff who comes to the aid of two young ladies (one played by the smoking hot Rose McGowan) who are alone in an abandoned Colorado town. He, along with another cop (Liev Schreiber) and an occult professor (Peter O'Toole), must take on the Ancient Enemy, a creature of evil incarnate from before the dawn of man.

Starting in the Kevin Smith film "Mallrats" and escalating to Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", there has been the cult joke that "Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms". But the sad truth is that "Phantoms" might just be Affleck's best role up to that time... (though he has done some fine work since, particularly "Extract").

"Phantoms" is something of a transitional piece. On one hand, the film clearly gets some of its imagery from other films, most noticeably John Carpenter's "The Thing" (the creepy alien-like dog). But, also, "Phantoms" has lent its imagery to those who have come after it. There is evidence to support the theory that "Silent Hill" took some of its abandoned town scenes from Phantoms. The exact connection, if any, is unknown to me. I also see similar themes in "X-Files: Fight the Future", with the petroleum-based alien. And the influence this had on "Mothman Prophesies" is undeniable.

But in short, "Phantoms" is an interesting story with above average special effects for the time and enough gore to sustain the average horror of science fiction fan. The story might be a little lacking, but when you keep in mind it's a Dean Koontz story, it's not a big shock.

Fans of "The Thing" might like this, and any Affleck or McGowan fans should definitely check this one out. I own it, and I have no regrets for my purchase. If it hasn't become one already, someday this will be a cult film. My only concern? The DVD is a bit too bare bones.
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7/10
Could have been better
clairemckeown22 January 2006
i watched this film a few years ago and can remember being disappointed by the end.Mainly because the first half of the film was good and quite tense as you didn't know what was coming up next,but then it became all too predictable.i remember Ben Affleck starring in this movie and i can honestly say i don't know how he got to where he is today because he was not impressive at all.i read the book a while before and enjoyed that and the film is certainly not a patch on the book by dean Koontz but then again you could argue that most movies are not as good as their books.Overall i would give it a 7 but it had the potential for a 8.
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