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The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

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A Review of Lisa Frankenstein

The jewel of February’s release schedule
Focus Features

This Valentine’s season has seen a considerable lack of new releases hitting theaters. The closest thing you’ll have to a tried and true rom-com is Argyle and a re-release of Anyone But You, with the rest of showtimes being filled by Madame Web and movies that have been out since Christmas. It’s not odd to see February have a drop-off in releases after the holiday season, but to see it to this extent is what’s odd.

What’s even odder is that an offbeat dark comedy like Lisa Frankenstein is the crowning jewel and savior of February.

Lisa Frankenstein sees the directorial debut of Zelda Williams and the return of Juno and Jennifer’s Body scriptwriter Diablo Cody with starring rules from Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse. The movie is about a teenager, Lisa Swallows (played by Newton), gathering body parts for her undead lover (Sprouse).

The plot of the film sounded intriguing, especially with a script by Cody, but my fear as I stepped into the theater was that it might come off as something like Pride and Prejudice plus Zombies, just run-of-the-mill Hot Topic pandering. I am happy to report that Lisa Frankenstein is good (and that Hot Topic is selling only a single T-shirt). 

First of all, the movie is incredibly charming. I have never been much of a romantic, but seeing the love story between a girl and her undead man proved rather swoon-worthy. Instead of ironic or quippy, this is a story of genuine feelings.

It’s also very funny, with a distinct sense of humor that is hard to find in current Hollywood films. Its comedy is dark and irreverent but not without heart. No spoilers, but the film’s conclusion comes to mind.

For a directorial debut, Williams’ film already has such a distinct style. The kinetic camera work feels like an homage to 80’s comedies with contemporary flourishes and multiple animated segments referencing  Le Voyage Dans La Lune. Williams has quickly become one of my most anticipated new directors. 

With Cody’s script as good as always, the movie feels like an evolution of Jennifer’s Body — teen horror symbolizing what it means to feel alone.

What’s surprising is how good I found the two leads to be. I’ve always found Kathryn Newton to be far too Hollywood in appearance, having seen her play roles like the grungy Cassie Lang in Antman and The Wasp: Quantomania was jarring. I groaned going into Lisa Frankenstein knowing that she would be playing a dorkish goth teen, but I was pleasantly surprised at her performance in this role. As a dorkish slightly goth teen, I approve. Coles Sprouse is someone I’ve always found to deliver odd line delivery, but his physical acting is very impressive. Honestly, I was a little bummed out when he transformed from a more ghoulish zombie to something more humanoid.

The most disappointing thing about this movie was how empty the theater was when I saw it. I know I made fun of “Hot Topic pandering” earlier, but where were those kids? I’m honestly shocked at how poor this movie is doing at the box office as of now because I know it has an audience. Regardless, whether it remains a box office sleeper or a cult classic ten years down the line, Lisa Frankenstein will find that audience. 

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About the Contributor
Layla Musselman
Layla Musselman, Staff Writer
Layla Raye Musselman is tired. She enjoys wearing glasses and silly little jackets.

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