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Phantoms

Year: 1998
Production Co: Dimension Films
Director: joe Chapelle
Writer: Dean Koontz
Cast: Rose McGowan, Ben Affleck, Liev Schreiber, Peter O'Toole, Joanna Going
Dean Koontz's novels have a similar level of details to those of Stephen King, so this adaptation suffered to some extent with the same constraints many films of King's book do.

The sheer literary depth of Koontz's book could never be compressed into a 90-minute movie with most of the characterisation intact. A classic example is the deputy sheriff (Schreiber), who for some reason acts weird and turns into a pseudo villain, making us wait for him to do something horrible to someone.

In the book, his bizarre behaviour is alluded to and explained enough so that it makes sense. In the film where no such exposition is offered, it becomes an ill-fitting add-on.

When two girls return home to their rural hamlet, they meet a town empty except for corpses and body parts. Teaming up with the local sheriff (Affleck) and eventually recruiting the scientific expert on the phenomena (O'Toole), it seems a malevolent, conscious force has come up through the earth to kill and maim. I can't remember why from either the movie or the book, but I remember that the movie was - while not nearly as immersive despite Koontz writing the script - entertaining enough.

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