I’m not really sure what to make of the new Phantasm: Ravager. I’d heard that there was a new one in the works, but I didn’t really pay close attention as Phantasm was probably my least favourite of the popular 80’s and 90’s horror/sci-fi franchises. Alien, Hellraiser, Predator, Candyman, and Evil Dead are all in my opinion objectively better than Phantasm. That is not to say that I did not enjoy the movies, au contraire, I found them pretty damn fun, just a lot less coherent when it came to actual story telling.
Ravager is a sequel, not a reboot. The film continues from where we left off, but obviously a few years down the road. Reggie is back and still battling otherworldly evils, tracking down The Tall Man across deserts, dreams, and alternate dimensions in search of Mike and Jody. Not only hasn’t the story changed, neither has the decade. The whole movie looks and feels like it belongs in the late eighties. The score, clothing, hair, acting… everything. You’d have to see it to believe it; it’s actually rather impressive.
Unfortunately in this case “impressive” doesn’t necessarily mean good. Saying that the movie is strange would be an understatement. It jumps back and forth between what may or may not be now, or then, or here, or there. The plot is definitely interesting, but again, interesting doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. I understand that the misdirection is intentional and that it’s supposed to be intriguing, but it borders on perplexing. There is no discernible or definable direction until the end of the movie and even then most of it ultimately relies on a then vs now dichotomy…What is and what isn’t; what was and what wasn’t. If you are finding me confusing then you should probably avoid the film.
There is a lot of fanservice, as is to be expected of a series whose last installment was almost a decade ago, including a scene that very much mimicked the memorable mausoleum of hell from the 1979 original. Even as someone who isn’t such a huge fan of the originals, I still found myself geeking out a bit. Ravager definitely delivers on what it promised to bring, but I am left wondering to whom? By so successfully mimicking what made these movies cult classics decades ago, is Ravager not perhaps distancing itself from a larger potential audience? There has been a large influx of shows and movies lately cashing in on these trips down memory lane, and Phantasm: Ravager is no different really. Still, it’s nice to have the series officially done and dusted.
In summary, Phantasm: Ravager is most definitely not boring but unless you have a vested interested in the series, it’s difficult to sit through. It’s chaotic and barely coherent, but fun nonetheless. It’s a shameless homage to the cult classics of yesteryear, with enough cheese to make a wine tasting jealous. If you are a fan of the series, it’s an absolute must. If you haven’t seen a Phantasm film, don’t bother unless you intend on catching up.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.