Lisa Frankenstein (2024)
Teenager Lisa is that weird new girl with a bit of a back story. She gets along well enough with her step-sister Taffy, the overly-excited and way too pretty cheerleader. While Taffy spends her days practicing kicks on top of the pyramid, Lisa gets her kicks by going to the creepy graveyard that just happens to be near the school and her house. Her favorite spot is under the bust of a handsome guy whose stone reads “never married.” When a freak thunderstorm breaks him free of his death, he comes looking for his love. Lisa’s eyes are already on Michael, the editor that any word-nerd would live and breathe for, but she might turn her head toward the corpse if he gets a few new body parts.
Concerns: Violent Content, Sexual Assault, Language, Bloody Images, Sexual Material, Teen Drinking and Drug Content
Runtime: 1h 41m
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Horror
Original Language: English
Release Date (theaters): Feb 9, 2024 Wide
Release Date (Streaming): TBD
Kathryn Newton as Lisa
Cole Sprouse as corpse
Liza Soberano as Taffy
Jenna Davis as Lori
Trina LaFargue as Tricia
Paola Andino as Misty
Production & Crew
Distributor: Focus Features
Production Co: MXN Entertainment, Lollipop Woods
Director(s): Zelda Williams
Producer(s): Mason Novick, Diablo Cody, Jeffrey Lampert, Mason Novick
Writer(s): Diablo Cody
Cinematography: Paula Huidobro
Music: Isabella Summers
Editor: Brad Turner
Hair/Makeup Lead(s): Natalie Shea Rose (hair), Jonny Bullard (makeup, special effects)
Costumes: Meagan McLaughlin
The year is 1989, and Lisa has just moved to a new town for her senior year, following the brutal murder of her mother and the marriage of her father to a neurotic nurse with a super-achiever for a daughter. Let’s be frank: This movie is weird. Like, weird-weird.
We first meet Lisa on the night of the big party, and learn how Lisa is in love with Michael, the school’s literary magazine editor. Michael even knows her name and likes her poetry. You’d think they’d be scratching Michael + Lisa in a big heart on the tree in Act 1. (Don’t hold your breath.)
At home, Lisa just can’t seem to get on the good side of her step mom, and her dad is a limp rag of a man who will do nothing to stop his ‘evil’ wife from carrying out her plan to lock Lisa up in an asylum. Lisa opts to stay home one night instead of seeing Looks Who’s Talking (ha), and she’s visited by the corpse she’s been visiting. They make a mess of the house, and Lisa is just one step closer to getting sent away. The corpse, now bathed and stuffed in the closet, dresses her the next morning in a gorgeous goth garb, and Lisa goes from the awkwardly silent type to provocative vixen all with just a costume change. Minutes later they’re collecting body parts and shoving people in an open grave, and playing with a “back” massager. The movie shifts from supernatural to just plain weird, and you’re left wondering if Lisa is already in the psych ward and the story is all a dream.
Details in Lisa Frankenstein, like the title, are forced, as if compiled by people who weren’t quite there but feel like they were. (Director Zelda Williams was born in 1989.) Sure, the details add some life to the film and wake up long, dull scenes that really could have been cut in the first place. You can hear the people around you whispering “I had one of those” and “My mom wore that” from start to finish. It’s like if Dawn of Welcome to the Dollhouse grew up and started channeling Wyonna from Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Except those movies had substance, something Lisa had at the start but quickly lost.
Lisa Frankenstein is cute like a teen movie that tweens crave in the afternoon, mildly entertaining and funny at times. It’s like those amalgamation comedies that mock popular movies, but Lisa’s is more drama than comedy. Overall, it’s just very, very weird. It’ll probably become a cult sensation with the Alpha crowd who won’t get the callus joke until they’re much older.