In the peaceful town of Snowfield, Colorado something evil has wiped out the community. And now, its up to a group of people to stop it, or at least get out of Snowfield alive.
Runtime: 91 minutes
Release Date 1998-01-23
Tagline: For centuries they told us the terror would come from above. We've been looking the wrong way.
The first thing we'd like to know is what we're dealing with, biological, chemical, or other. Directed by Joe Chappelle and written by Dean Koontz, who adapts from his own novel, Phantoms (not the greatest title all things considered) is a considerably well put together amalgamation of horror/sci-fi/creature feature tropes. If at times it feels clichéd and formulaic, then that is ultimately a curse of the cinematic genres it lives and breaths in. Plot basically has two sisters played by Rose McGowan and Joanna Going arriving in the town of Snowfield, Cololrado, to find most of the inhabitants dead, diseased or dismembered. A trio of coppers turn up played by Liev Schreiber (shifty malevolence), Ben Affleck (square jawed bastion of heroism) and Nicky Katt (fodder of course), and thus a fight for survival ensues as Peter O'Toole's sharp doctor character comes flying in to become the fulcrum of the story. So yep! There's something very evil and nasty at work here and the makers expand upon the reasons why with a drip-feed mixture of mad science and intelligent thematic ideas. The effects work is more than adequate and the strong cast list perform well up to scratch (nice to see O'Toole doesn't phone it in to denigrate the story). Things are taken very seriously throughout, the makers in no way biting the hand that feeds them, while the requisite insertions of jump - shocks - twists and mayhem are handled with care and attention by the director. You may come away as I did with a hunger to dig out your copy of John Carpenter's sublime The Thing? Which in truth is never a bad "thing," but this is still sturdy stuff, a pic caked in genre cement, and crucially it doesn't waste the time invested by the genre compliant viewers. 7/10