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Lisa Frankenstein (2024): A Review

Lisa Frankenstein (2024): A Review

Zelda Williams Proves to be a Director with a Clear Vision and a Love for Campy Movies

Lisa Frankenstein, released February 9th, 2024, was the directorial debut of Zelda Williams and produced by MXN Entertainment and Lollipop Woods. The story follows the titular character Lisa as she navigates a world with her mixed family – her father Dale Swallows, her step-mother Janet Swallows, and her step-sister Taffy Swallows. Lisa is shown to the viewers to be a survivor of an ax murderer who invaded her home while her and her mother were there. Lisa’s mother, in an act of protection, stood between Lisa and the murderer and was killed in front of Lisa. After a series of events that culminate in Lisa running from a party, she stumbles into the cemetery she often sits in and speaks to the headstone of a deceased man she gained some affection for. After wishing for a union between the two, the man (originally from 1837) is resurrected and becomes a protector for Lisa against those who harm her – intentionally or not.

The Love Story That Defies Decades… And Centuries

One thing that can be said about Lisa Frankenstein is that the movie knows exactly what it is and it embraces it. The story contains a tone of camp, earnestness, and satire that is missing from the media nowadays. Despite being over an hour and a half long, the movie never loses steam and therefore never loses its identity. Frankenstein has a lab to create his creature, and Lisa has a tanning bed. As this is a retelling of the tale involving the mad scientist Frankenstein and his monster – now a lonely teenage girl and her “creature” – kills are to be expected. The kills in this movie work because they never feel cruel and unnecessary, and when they do, they have a purpose for it. Each death that occurs in the film just works in cementing the bond between Lisa and the creature, making their love for one another stronger and more toxic as the story plays out.

The cinematography and color of this film are truly a highlight, making it an overall beautiful overall watch. Something that is missing nowadays in film is color and vibrancy, and Lisa Frankenstein isn’t lacking in that department. Bold colors are used throughout the film, with bright neons and dark shadows creating a beautiful contrast of bold and understated. The scenes throughout the movie are shot by Paula Huidobro and reflect her style, often highlighting characters’ subtle emotions and shifts in thought processes, making the viewing experience more understandable for the viewers.

Lisa Frankenstein (2024): A Review
Kathryn Newton as Lisa Swallows | MXN Entertainment, Lollipop Woods

Electrifying Performances

A true bright spot in this movie is the acting, with a star-studded cast of the lead actress Kathryn Newton as Lisa Swallows, Liza Soberano as Taffy Swallows, Cole Sprouse as The Creature, Carla Gugino as Janet Swallows, and Joe Chrest as Dale Swallows. With the specific lineup of actors signed onto the film, a good campy time is all that could be expected. The characters aren’t that of recent horror movies where they fulfill stereotypical roles – they are, in fact, the opposite. A key character to highlight is Taffy, who, though she fulfills the stereotypical popular girl role, is full of compassion and love for all of those around her and gains an even deeper characterization with the two deaths she experiences throughout the narrative. Each of the motivations made by the characters made sense logically in who they are initially presented to be to the audience. No one has a switch that would never happen, which makes this film about a man rising from the grave strangely grounded. The humor in the movie works so excellently, as it acknowledges the campiness that it references without making a joke out of it. Hearing that this film lives in the same world as Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body makes the premise feel so much more interesting, especially due to all of the possibilities that can come from either a crossover or even a campy version of The Dark Universe which never came to fruition. The absolute best part of the movie by far is Kathryn Newton’s stellar performance as Lisa Swallows – with any other actress, this movie wouldn’t be as phenomenal as it is. Newton has been in a variety of horror films as of date, including Lisa Frankenstein, Freaky, Paranormal Activity 4, and the upcoming film titled Abigail. These four just prove how much of a powerhouse this actress is, and any horror film that she is involved in is a must watch.

Dead Serious

Despite what the critics say about this movie, it is a 100% must watch, especially in theaters, as the experience of watching it with others makes it so much more enjoyable.

Watch Lisa Frankenstein in any theater and stream it on Prime Video.

Lisa Frankenstein (2024): A Review
Cole Sprouse as The Creature, and Kathryn Newton as Lisa Swallows | MXN Entertainment, Lollipop Woods

Lisa Frankenstein (2024) Official Focus Features Trailer

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Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.