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Lisa Frankenstein (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Lisa Frankenstein (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Universal Studios
    Released on: April 9th, 2024.
    Director: Zelda Williams
    Cast: Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Carla Gugino, Joe Chrest, Henry Eikenberry
    Year: 2024
    Purchase From Amazon

    Lisa Frankenstein – Movie Review:

    The feature-length directorial debut of Zelda Williams, 20214’s Lisa Frankenstein takes place in 1989 and follows a teenaged girl named Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton) who, two years ago, lost her mother when she was murdered by an axe-wielding psychopath. Lisa's having trouble coping with this, and the fact that her father, Dale (Joe Chrest), has remarried and has moved in his new wife, Janet (Carta Gugino), only makes it more difficult to deal with, and her new super-popular stepsister, Taffy (Liza Soberano), doesn't help much at all. To escape from her day to day stress, Lisa hangs out in a nearby cemetery on a regular basis.

    When Lisa and Taffy go to a party, Lisa gets drugged and nearly raped by a creep named Doug (Bryce Romero). Understandably upset about all of this, she heads to the cemetery and starts talking to the grave of a young man who passed away in 1837, expressing how she wishes she could be with him, knowing that he was a musician who died very young. When Lisa leaves, a bolt of lightning hits the grave and its inhabitant (Cole Sprouse) is resurrected as a zombie completely in love with Lisa.

    From here, the zombie breaks into Lisa's home and breaks a mirror that Janet blames Lisa for. When she finally comes face to face with the zombie and realizes who he is, she decides to secretly keep him in her room and then proceeds to go about acquiring the body parts that she needs to properly rebuild him, starting with her wicked step-mother...

    Written by Diablo Cody (of Jennifer’s Body fame), Lisa Frankenstein boasts pretty solid production values and it does a nice job of capturing an intentionally tacky and garish eighties look and feel but ultimately can’t figure out where it wants to land in terms of tone. Obviously meant to be a horror comedy in the vein of those made in the eighties and nineties (think 1993’s ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ for example), it bounces between horror and comedy and even semi-serious drama, the shifts in tone are fairly drastic at times. If the movie were funnier or scarier (or both!) this would be easy enough to look past but it isn’t especially funny or scary in the first place, it’s just sort of three.

    The performances are okay. Not amazing mind you, but not horrible. Kathryn Newton is likeable enough in the lead role, but her character’s plight, which would be engaging to the audience, is really just a series of clichés sort of strung together. And that’s really the biggest issue with the film, it feels too familiar. It’s one thing to pay homage to a particular genre and a particular decade but if you don’t bring anything new to that homage, it won’t really amount to much. Cole Sprouse is fine as the zombie boyfriend and Carta Gugino effectively mean-spirited as the wicked stepmother, while both Joe Chrest and Liza Soberano are fine but not especially memorable (although seeing a Victorian era corpse rise from the dead and walk around in a ratty looking Violent Femmes shirt does at least count for something).

    Ultimately, you’ve definitely seen far worse movies than this one but Lisa Frankenstein, despite having a really strong visual style and some genuinely solid effects work, suffers from some erratic pacing and tonal shifts making it a very uneven movie that never really finds its footing as a horror movie or a comedy film.

    Lisa Frankenstein – Blu-ray Review:

    Lisa Frankenstein arrives on a 50GB Blu-ray from Universal Studios in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks just as good as you’d expect a brand new movie shot on high end digital equipment would look. There’s some solid detail in the image and colors look excellent. Black levels are strong and skin tones look natural enough. Depth and texture take advantage of the format and look quite good, while the image is free of any obvious compression problems.

    Audio options are provided in an English 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Surround Sound options and a French DTS 5.1 Surround Sound mix with optional subtitles available in English SDH, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish. No complaints about the sound quality here, the 5.1 mix is a good one, using rear channels effectively throughout and delivering some pretty strong bass response. Dialogue remains clear throughout, the track is free of any hiss or distortion and the soundtrack has a lot of kick to it.

    Extras start off with a commentary from Director Zelda Williams that goes over her thoughts on the story, working with her cast and crew, hoping to get specific reactions from certain scenes, memories of shooting specific scenes and changes that were made to some of them during editing, working with Diablo Cody and her thoughts on her script, little details in the background of the film that some might miss, how some of the effects work was handled and other details related to her work on the picture.

    Up next is a selection of roughly five minutes of deleted scenes - Get Me Out of Hell! / Knock Knock / Music Lovers / Incredible Friend / Breaking News. A two minutes Gag Reel is also included on the disc.

    The disc also includes a few featurettes. ‘Resurrecting The 1980’s’ is a five minute featurette with the main cast members as well as Williams and Cody that looks at what went into getting the look of the film and the period detail down right, which is something that the crew admittedly did a really good job on. ‘An Electric Connection’ is a five minute piece with the cast and crew, including some of the production and design team, who all talk about the importance of trying to get the chemistry between Lisa and the zombie character. ‘A Dark Comedy Duo’ spends four minutes with Williams and Cody, as well as a few others, as they discuss their collaborative efforts on the production and how they enjoyed working together.

    This release also comes bundled with an insert card containing a code that can be redeemed for a digital HD download version of the movie, as well as a slipcover with its first pressing.

    Lisa Frankenstein - The Final Word:

    Lisa Frankenstein has its moments and it always looks really good but ultimately, it never catches fire the way you want it to, never really clicking as a horror or comedy picture. The Blu-ray release from Universal, however, looks and sounds really good and contains a decent selection of extra features as well, making it a nice package for those who enjoyed the movie.



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Lisa Frankenstein Blu-ray screen caps!

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    • Darcy Parker
      #1
      Darcy Parker
      Senior Member
      Darcy Parker commented
      Editing a comment
      They should have used the character's real name for the title. Lisa Swallows would probably sell more copies, although the content may fall short of the title for some viewers...
    Posting comments is disabled.

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