A heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat thriller with a hot cast of rising stars, PHANTOMS is the latest from master of suspense, Dean Koontz! Five lone survivors in a devastated town must face the unthinkable: a ferocious force of evil lying below the earth for centuries has surfaced with the power to destroy every human being! Left behind are two sisters, the town sheriff (Academy Award(R)-winner Ben Affleck, GOOD WILL HUNTING), his deputy (Liev Schreiber, SCREAM 2), and a noted tabloid journalist (Peter O'Toole). You're in for a pulse-pounding experience as the survivors race to stop this terrifying threat before it wipes humankind off the face of the earth!
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Either Dean Koontz shouldn't adapt his own bestsellers, or his 1983 novel Phantoms was a pack of horror clichés to begin with, or this movie is 15 years past its due date. What might have seemed fresh at the time of Poltergeist now feels like it was made from a derivative script with pages missing. Plagued by reckless leaps of logic, the movie starts with adequately eerie atmosphere and a perversely twisted performance by Scream 2's Liev Schreiber, but decays into a familiar hash of gross-out effects, resulting from the annihilation of a small Colorado town by an evil force known as "The Ancient Enemy." In a dreary role that insults the twilight of his distinguished career, Peter O'Toole plays a paleobiologist whose crackpot ideas have become tabloid fodder, but he holds the key to conquering the beast. Or does he? Sure enough, an obligatory coda leaves room for anticlimactic doubt. Phantoms has a few genuinely creepy highlights, including a devilish beastie resembling an angry flying scorpion, and horror fans will surely find something to admire, but everyone else is advised to proceed with caution and lowered expectations. --Jeff Shannon
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