Phantasm IV: Oblivion

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The reign of terror of The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) continues, but now Reggie (Reggie Bannister) has freed himself from the clutches of evil, while Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) is on the run. Reggie was released, but only because The Tall Man knew it wasn’t his time to perish, in a stroke of dark luck. Once on his own again, Reggie races to find Mike, who is in the desert and unsure of what to do himself. Mike has experienced some unusual changes in himself, he seems to have gained some powers, but he is still in the dark as to what lies ahead. As Mike explores his newfound powers, he discovers he can travel through time and begins to unfold a plan on how to end The Tall Man’s evil ways. He learns where The Tall Man originated, but can he change the very path of time and if not, what does the future hold?

The Tall Man is back in the fourth installment of the Phantasm series, but does the franchise still have some gas in the tank, or had it overstayed its welcome by this point? Phantasm IV is a jumbled mess in terms of plot, with various threads in motion and none seem to lead anywhere. The only plot line that follows through is the confrontation with The Tall Man, the rest of the elements just to be in place to occupy time until the showdown. At the same time, fans of the Phantasm series are used to disjointed plot devices, so this comes as no surprise. So no, things don’t make much sense and the mythology doesn’t evolve, but The Tall Man, Reggie, and the spheres are all here. If you need more than those elements, then you’re out of luck. But if you’ve enjoyed the series and just want more of the same, give Phantasm IV a rental.

Video: How does it look?

Phantasm IV is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This looks good, better even than I anticipated. The print is clean for the most part, with solid detail and overall depth. This was produced on a rather limited budget however, so there isn’t much polish, which detracts a little. Even so, colors appear accurate and contrast is strong, which help bolster the visuals. So while the low budget roots are evident, this is still a good looking transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital 5.1 option provides a solid experience, with a good deal of presence. This helps in the more tense scenes, as it builds suspense and supports the eerie atmosphere. The surrounds don’t light up throughout, but they’re active and kick in to help out when they’re needed. The music sounds good also and adds some more life. No issues with vocals either, so we have a more than solid soundtrack here. This disc also includes English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Up first is an audio commentary with director Don Coscarelli, who is joined by stars Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm. The trio share memories of the productions, but the tone remains light and never too technical. I would have loved some time spent on the series mythology, but that is never broached here. This disc also includes a brief, but worthwhile featurette.

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