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The Frighteners

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The Frighteners

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Why are horror films no longer scary? Probably because their directors are so busy yelling at Rick Baker's beleaguered assistant to make the undead corpse's lower jaw hang off more realistically, thereby overlooking less technically demanding aspects of filmmaking like continuity and character development. The result: The Frighteners, a slick FX bonanza, but otherwise an overlong, overstuffed mess with only sporadic moments of clarity and purpose. The notion of a down-on-his-luck clairvoyant (Michael J. Fox), who makes a ragtag living installing his poltergeist pals in people's living rooms and then "exorcising" them, would have made a substantial movie by itself. But it's lost in a hard-to-follow storyline of an ectoplasm-stealing ghost of a serial killer who's knocking off the town's citizens left and right. The audience spends so much time mulling over the various inconsistencies that the lovingly fashioned gore and Halloween-style endless climaxes lose their impact. The most impressive weapon anyone could have wielded in The Frighteners is the film splicer.