Phantasm V Ravager (2016) Spoilers!
PLOT - Since we last left Reggie, he's been wandering around in the desert searching for any clues on where The Tall Man has gone. Confused, he's beginning to drift in and out of reality and different conciseness. In one world he's a lone warrior, traveling the back highways fighting this war against The Tall Man alone. In another he's back with Mike in a not so distant future where The Tall Man has completely taken over the world, and in another he's in a nursing home, learning that maybe all of this...could actually be in his head.
LOWDOWN - I'm a massive "Phan" of the Phantasm series. For years I had owned the sequel on VHS and loved all of the over the top action and gore. This felt like a Sam Raimi movie with a twist, and for years for some stupid unknown reason I kept putting off watching the original classic. Finally back in 2008 (I know, I know) I finally got off my ass and bought the original and the sequels.
I haven't looked back since.
The original Phantasm movie is hands down one of my all time favorite horror movies. Mr. Don Coscarelli made a surreal beautiful world that felt like an Italian horror movie. A true living breathing piece of art that was a total mind trip between it's beautiful haunting score, the stunning colors, likable cast (I feel A. Michael Baldwin set the bar very high with child actors being the main hero in a horror movie) and of course the best villain of all time.
The Tall Man.
The sequels that followed continued this sweeping epic of Mike, Reggie, Jody, The Tall Man, and the other characters and monsters that came in. I have always felt these films were one giant movie and as I've posted before have this huge hidden message which deals with death and how one deals with it. Part 4 really touched upon this subject, feeling like an epic ending to a wonderful story. To this day I still in my eyes felt completely content with how part 4 ended and saw it was a beautiful ending with the entire story coming full circle. Still, I wasn't completely against a part 5 being made. For 18 long years rumors flew faster than those damn spheres of there really being a part 5. Script after script flew around even with leaked scene of The Tall Man and Mike even sharing a scene filmed several years ago. The hype was building and FINALLY just like Beyonce, this next installment was made in secret with just a teaser trailer and a few leaked photos for fans to drool over for what seemed like forever. With Don no longer in the director's chair many people wondered if this would still hold the same magic the other four films held. After the passing of Angus, only time could tell if this movie was worth the wait. With Phantasm remastered coming out, finally Phantasm 5 hit VOD and I strolled on over deciding to say YOLO and pay the 7 bucks to rent it and finally see if my favorite horror series still held the magic it once did.
I don't want to go too crazy into trying to figure this movie out since it's still fresh in my mind. I legit just finished watching it, and I gotta admit, I was on the fence since several friends of mine who are huge fans of these movies said how terrible it was. I hate to admit but I could tell this movie was covered in CGI from the trailers, and the budget looked low. Low...low...
Still, I knew I needed to check it out myself and low and behold I actually enjoyed it. I've always liked Reggie as a character. He was the voice of reason, supplied comic relief, always tried to get laid, and always had gross yellow shit leaking in his mouth. Still, I always saw the human side of him. Between part 1 and 2 he was Mike's rock after Jody died. He started a family of his own, only to have them all killed. (It always breaks my heart in part III where Tim sees the photo of his daughter in the car, or when he's sleeping and thinks his wife is with him.) This is a man who lost it all, but always stood by his friend. In part 4, the ending scene between Mike and Reggie always hits me right in the feels since it's Reggie who's the last man standing and promises Mike as he lays dying that he'll come back for him and runs into the time gates to get revenge.
Having the film focus on him seemed fitting since part 4 really focused on Mike's struggle in this never ending battle. The film was low budget, and dragged in some parts, but seeing those spheres flying and the Cuda roaring brought a smile back to my face. This was 18 years in the making. Still, I feel had Don directed this movie would have had a slightly more steady hand. This clearly is the weakest in the entire series, but still holds a lot of heart. We all know this was Angus' last time playing The Tall Man, and he was quite old when he played this final role. Still, I would have loved to see more of him. It sorta bummed me out the ending they chose with him was it. I mean really? The fact that this was his last film really let me down with how they went about things. The other 4 films seemed a little more final than this one.
Many have said this film would throw my theory of it all being in Mike's head out the window. I would say that's a yes and a no. What if after years of hearing Mike's ramblings Reggie slowly begins to decline in health and as his mind starts to slip he actually starts to really believe Mike's fantasy. Now all these years later Mike is stable and put together, having moved on and accepted fate/death. Reggie, his old friend and caretaker since he lost his family is slowly approaching death and as his mind wanders, he believes he's still fighting a war with his friends, still side by side, and still together. This is what I believe the filmmakers were trying to go with things, mostly with the epic ending. As Reggie got worse and worse in the nursing home, he continued fighting in his slipping mind with Mike who survived and was still fighting with him with Jody and several other friends (BTW the little person, was that supposed to be Tim? The Rocky reveal was good, but I felt for more of a pay off for the ending) Still, I got nerd chills seeing Mike and Jody fight side by side, and of course as Reggie lays dying he sees himself with Mike and Jody holding his hand, all together again like old times (In reality it's just Mike, but in his mind he sees his two friends he always saw as his sons) Here in his mind/Heaven he's back in the Cuda, all of his friends together, fighting the good fight forever. All Together.
Fitting, and rewarding. I really hope despite Angus' passing this isn't the last movie. I really hope there's at least one more but seeing how long it took for this movie to be made it seems like wishful thinking. Still, a highly enjoyable movie full of flaws, but had if you really are as invested in the characters as I am, a decent sequel for a very epic span of 40 plus years. Still, part 4 will in my eyes forever be the final film.
3 1/2 stars!