Lisa Frankenstein Blu-ray Review


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Zelda Williams
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Liza Soberano, Henry Eikenberry
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ Spanish, French
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Studio Distribution Services
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Blu-ray
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 42 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ April 9, 2024


        I can imagine how Lisa Frankenstein may have been praised for its creativity and originality had it been made at the height of screenwriter Diablo Cody’s initial fame. Following the rags-to-riches (or stripper-to-screenwriter) storyline that resulted in Juno winning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Cody wrote the feminist horror film Jennifer’s Body, and a decade and a half later is claiming that Lisa Frankenstein exists in the same cinematic universe. However, there are several problems with this claim and the film directed by Zelda Williams.


For one thing, trying to establish a cinematic universe now just feels derivative, and it hardly an original gimmick (not to mention the fact that these connections are nowhere to be found in the film itself). Also, the nostalgia-dripped approach to Lisa Frankenstein would have been more effective before Stranger Things and every single reboot from the 1980s had oversaturated the market. And an attempt at a feminist take on the Frankenstein narrative feels especially uninspired after the critical and commercial success of last year’s Poor Things, a film with far more to say and even more to praise.


Nearly every issue I had with Lisa Frankenstein seems to come from decisions being made to formulate the ideal studio release, much like protagonist Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton) attempts to piece together the perfect boyfriend. Newton is chosen to star because of her success in past horror comedies like Freaky (2020), just like Cole Sprouse is cast as the undead love interest in hopes of attracting his young fanbase into theaters. Even the look of the movie feels blatantly “borrowed” from Tim Burton, which makes Lisa Frankenstein feel like even more of a cheap knockoff, especially in a year teasing the release of a Beetlejuice sequel.


As much as I have enjoyed Newton’s comedic performances of the past, her portrayal of Lisa feels weird in a nonsensical way. Following this character throughout the entire narrative means having to ignore multiple odd and illogical decisions, simply because the filmmakers think it will be funny. More than anything, it just becomes annoying, almost like a Saturday Night Live sketch that goes on way too long. Edginess is brought in to cover for the aimlessness of the narrative, and the train is completely derailed by the final act which never quite explains how Lisa goes from being quirky to making completely absurd choices. I don’t think the audience is intended to ask these questions, but what is more frustrating is that neither the screenwriter or director bothered to either.


The Blu-ray release for Lisa Frankenstein also comes with a digital code to stream or download the movie, in addition to a handful of special features on the disc itself. There are a handful of deleted scenes, in addition to a gag reel that may be funnier than anything Cody wrote into the film. There is also a featurette about the 1980s style, but this has been done so often recently that I’m not sure they should have made a special feature to brag about this choice.


Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

Historical Significance:  3/10

Special Features: 7/10

No comments: