The time has come. After 19 years flying dormant, Don Coscarelli’s ‘Phantasm’ series returns with ‘Phantasm V: Ravager’. But Is it worth the wait? Find out here. Welcome back to Phantasm Week.
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BOOOOOOOOYY!!….this has been in the works for a long time. Planning a fifth Phantasm for years, Don Coscarelli’s classic series is now coming to an end as Ravager flies at you faster than a bolting sphere.
In fact, last year at Scarefest, the whole crew was attendance pushing Ravager. I was lucky enough to interview a few of the cast. And while my phone was stolen a few days after (never empty your bladder while eating at your local Arby’s), the creators were a great group of people.
So, it’s been a year since the team began promoting the film even. Well the time is here to finally witness the end of the amazingly imaginative saga that started in 1979. Is it worth the wait, or does Ravager leave your head spinning? Let’s get ravaged and figure this thing out sliver ball buffs.
David Hartman’s ‘Phantasm: Ravager’-Courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment
With Don Coscarelli jumping out the director’s chair, Ravager takes place years after the events of 1998’s Phantasm IV: Oblivion. With David Hartman replacing the Don of Phantasm as film leader, there’re many things to hate and admire in Phantasm V: Ravager. So let’s take a look at the film’s silver tarnishes first.
For starters, the acting is high school theater level overall. While Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm are sharp as ever, the rest of the cast is really bad. Just look to the guy driving the ’71 Cuda in the beginning – It’s terrible. That said, A. Michael Baldwin is the best he’s ever been in the fifth film. Honestly, I was quite impressed with Phantasm’s Mike.
Furthermore, the film’s direction is extremely amateurish. While I’ve heard the replacing of Don was due to gaining finance, the choosing of new director was ill advised. The ridicules closeups, the choppy editing, and the insistence of poor CG plague the first half of the film.
Reggie Bannister as Reggie in David Hartman ‘Phantasm V: Ravager’- Courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment
In fact, I have a theory. I think Hartman was working by himself at first. Then, during production, Coscarelli jumped in and procured more financing. While films rarely shoot in chronological order, the second half is remarkably better.
Which brings me to what does work in Ravager. The second half of the film is a Phantasm fan’s wet dream. After sitting through the terrible first half, the second is, like I was saying, remarkably better. The direction sharper, the stakes raised, and the balls bigger than ever. Ravager is amazing when it works and I was literally on the edge of my seat cheering during the some of the segments.
Also, the script is damn solid. Written by Hartman and Coscarelli, the fifth Phantasm provides great story throughout. While carrying its narrative to a successful conclusion, Ravager is great script wise. The film is told through the perspective of Reggie. In fact, it’s much like the original 1979 classic is, where the story is being filtered through Mike’s brain. It’s truly great in so many ways because of this.
And speaking of Reggie, a few of his scenes with the “Tall Man” are incredible. These scenes, providing support to the film’s lesser story points, are some of the best in the entire series. Period. It’s a true treat to see the late Angus Scrimm, who died shortly after Ravager’s completion, leaving on such a high note. Real “Phans” will be shedding tears of joy and sadness while watching. It’s truly amazing.
David Hartman’s Phantasm V: Ravager is an amazing love letter to real “Phans”. While the direction is badly handled, and the performances weak, the last half of the film is stellar. On top of that, the script is great. While the fourth worst film in the franchise, with Oblivion being the worst, Ravager is one hell of a way to end the legendary silver ball series. Simply put, the Phantasm franchise ends by playing a respectable game.
THE GRADE: C+
Loving “Phantasm Week”? Looking forward to Ravager? Let the other silver ball buffs know what you think in the comment section below.