Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

‘Lisa Frankenstein’: A bloody good time — at least, at first

To be frank, Asst. C&C editor Stella Powers isn’t impressed with Zelda Williams' newest film, “Lisa Frankenstein.”
To be frank, Asst. C&C editor Stella Powers isn’t impressed with Zelda Williams' newest film, “Lisa Frankenstein.”

Zelda Williams’ directorial debut, “Lisa Frankenstein,” is a fun, cute and campy horror comedy — but only for the first hour or so.

The film starts out fun, introducing the gothic teenage Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton) who is enamored by her favorite tombstone at the cemetery. She leaves the dead man her deceased mother’s necklace and confesses that she wishes she could be with him.

As is the case with many movies surrounding a plot inspired by “Frankenstein,” chaos ensues following a messy storm and a lightning strike — in this case, on the Cole Sprouse-shaped tombstone.

While Lisa is home alone, her boyfriend from beyond the grave makes a frightening appearance as a mud-covered monster, having been brought to life after his tombstone was struck.

The pair form a strong bond, despite Sprouse’s character being unable to speak. Lisa shares her secrets with him, storing the corpse in her closet in an attempt to keep him hidden from her parents.

The relationship between Lisa and her monster escalates, and the two begin killing those who have wronged them in order to collect and sew on the body parts her boyfriend is missing.

It’s perfectly campy in a way that should’ve made it a fantastically fun horror comedy — only, it doesn’t.

Normally, I love a fun, objectively bad movie, especially when it has horror undertones. But this is one of the few exceptions. “Lisa Frankenstein” is almost too weird, and not in a good way.

Williams crosses the line from a super fun, weird vibe to just plain disturbing with this film. It also fails to bring anything new to the table, with all of the genuinely funny content being a reference to something else.

That being said, one of the most interesting aspects of this film was the “A Trip to the Moon” imagery. Released in 1902, “A Trip to the Moon” was one of the earliest films from George Méliés. “Lisa Frankenstein” uses imagery from the film and even recreates some of the most iconic scenes.

Despite the brilliant incorporation of references to “A Trip to the Moon,”, it still contributes to the fact that almost nothing good about this movie was original.

There were also some hilarious kill scenes. Characters meet their demise in the most ridiculous, obscure ways to the point where it was comical, but that’s one of the only genuinely funny things about this movie.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Newton’s knack for playing a lovable outcast is also one of the few redeeming qualities of this film.

Known for her work in “Freaky,” “The Society,” “Big Little Lies” and more, Newton incorporates the perfect amount of awkwardness into her portrayal of Lisa, making the audience both cringe yet adore her simultaneously.

Despite the film’s flaws, the cinematography was beautiful, with a brilliantly executed gothic, almost Burton-esque horror aesthetic.

But the cinematography and impressive performance by Newton are unfortunately not enough to cancel out the poorly put together plot, unnecessarily weird and disturbing elements, lack of originality and the fact that the film had a terrible, pointless ending.

The last half hour of the film made almost no sense, and it had one of the most mediocre, poorly put together endings I have ever seen.

Though the premise was cute, campy and fun, “Lisa Frankenstein” ended up being nothing more than a poorly stitched together horror comedy.

Rating: 5.5/10