Lisa Frankenstein (2024) – Film Review

Lisa Frankenstein Film Review

Director: Zelda Williams
Cast: Kathryn Newton, Liza Soberano, Jenna Davis
Certificate: 15

By Sarah Morgan

Take an Oscar-winning screenwriter, a gothic literary classic and 1980s teen movies, mix them together and what do you get?

The answer is Lisa Frankenstein, a comedy-horror film that, sadly, is neither funny enough or scary enough to fit into either genre, despite strong direction from debutant Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin) and a few decent lines and ideas from Diablo Cody.

Lisa Frankenstein Film ReviewThe latter won her Academy Award for her work on the brilliant Juno, but her work since then has been a little hit-and-miss. She claims Lisa Frankenstein is set in the same universe as another of her offerings, 2009’s Jennifer’s Body, so if you’re familiar with that movie, chances are you may get more out of its sister production than those who are not.

“Struggling to come to terms with her mother’s murder”

Here, the main focus is on the relationship between Lisa Swallows, a lonely girl struggling to come to terms with her mother’s murder and her father’s subsequent remarriage, and The Creature, a Victorian-era hunk brought back to life by a freak lightning strike.

Lisa is in her senior high school year, but her quirky fashion sense (she’s a goth) and approach to life mean she’s struggling to fit in, despite the best efforts of her well-meaning stepsister Taffy.

Hiding her new undead beau in her bedroom seems to give Lisa a new lease of life. He certainly looks pretty good (think of a younger version of Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd and you get the idea), but he’s missing a few crucial body parts, so he and Lisa set about replacing them with bits chopped off people who, they feel, probably don’t deserve to live.

Obviously, this cannot go on without repercussions, and as the police close in, drastic times call for drastic measures…

Lisa Frankenstein Film Review

“Perky, winning performances”

Although the film misfires somewhat, it’s not a complete disaster. Kathryn Newton and Liza Soberano provide perky, winning performances as Lisa and Taffy, and Cole Sprouse looks good as the almost wordless Creature. Williams’s direction keeps the story ticking over nicely; her depiction of the late-1980s setting, a parody of the era’s teen movies, is done well too.

Sadly, it’s the screenplay by Cody, the most experienced member of the main cast and crew in terms of film-making, that lets things down. It tries to deliver scares via gore, but they’re icky rather than frightening, while the lacklustre jokes largely fail to raise a smile.

If Lisa Frankenstein were a school report, I’d give it five out of 10, with a note stating it must do better next time.

  • "An Electric Connection" - A featurette on the film and characters.
  • "Resurrecting The 80's" covers the 80's setting and production design.
  • "A Dark Comedy Duo" - about the collaboration between Diablo Cody and Zelda Williams.
  • Commentary by Zelda Williams.
  • Deleted scenes
  • Gag reel
  • Theatrical trailer
Lisa Frankenstein is out now on 4k

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