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Lisa Frankenstein, 2024: A Modern Twist on a Classic Tale

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In the world of cinema, there are few stories as iconic and enduring as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” From its themes of hubris to its exploration of the human condition, this tale has captivated audiences for centuries. Now, in a modern twist on the classic, a new film has emerged: “Lisa Frankenstein.” This teen horror-comedy, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Zelda Williams, brings a fresh perspective to the age-old story. In this article, we will delve into the depths of “Lisa Frankenstein,” exploring its unique blend of comedy, horror, and romance, and uncovering why it has earned both praise and criticism.

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The Plot Unveiled

The story of “Lisa Frankenstein” centers around the peculiarly named Lisa Swallows, a misfit who longs for connection in a world that seems determined to keep her isolated. After witnessing her mother’s brutal murder, Lisa finds herself living with her father, stepmother, and cheerleader stepsister in the suburbs. Despite her best efforts to fit in, Lisa remains an outcast, seeking solace in the graveyard where she daydreams and makes grave rubbings.

One fateful night, Lisa’s deepest desires are realized when the corpse of a 19th-century boy rises from the grave. Cole Sprouse brings this undead character to life, delivering a performance that is both ghastly and strangely captivating. As Lisa and the corpse embark on an unconventional romance, the film takes viewers on a journey filled with twists, turns, and unexpected discoveries.

A Nostalgic Homage

“Lisa Frankenstein” pays homage to the beloved ’80s and ’90s era of teen movies, drawing inspiration from the likes of “Poltergeist,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and “Pretty in Pink.” The film’s production design is a feast for the eyes, evoking a sense of nostalgia with its vibrant colors and familiar trappings. From the costumes to the set pieces, every detail transports viewers back to a time when high school dramas and supernatural tales reigned supreme.

While the title may suggest a connection to the Lisa Frank brand, known for its colorful stickers and school supplies, the film deviates from this association. However, it embraces a girly-gothy aesthetic, infusing the story with a delightful mix of darkness and whimsy. The result is a visually captivating experience that immerses the audience in a world that feels simultaneously familiar and otherworldly.

The Strengths and Weaknesses

As with any film, “Lisa Frankenstein” has its strengths and weaknesses. One of its standout features is the performance of Kathryn Newton in the titular role. Newton embodies Lisa with a vulnerability and nuance that brings depth to the character. Her portrayal of a reclusive goth girl yearning for acceptance is both relatable and compelling.

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The supporting cast also shines, with Liza Soberano delivering a refreshing take on the cheerleader stepsister Taffy. Carla Gugino, known for her versatility, portrays Lisa’s wicked stepmother with a level of precision and intensity that adds another layer of intrigue to the story. These performances elevate the film and offer moments of genuine connection and emotion.

However, “Lisa Frankenstein” falls short in some areas. The script, written by Diablo Cody, lacks the boldness and unpredictability that her previous works, such as “Juno” and “Jennifer’s Body,” showcased. The plot follows a fairly predictable trajectory, which can leave viewers wanting more. Additionally, Zelda Williams’ directorial debut falls victim to pacing issues, occasionally undermining the wit and charm brought by the cast.

A Genre-Bending Mashup

One of the defining characteristics of “Lisa Frankenstein” is its genre-bending nature. Combining elements of comedy, horror, and romance, the film aims to strike a delicate balance between these genres. While it succeeds in some instances, such as the comedic moments between Lisa and the undead boy, the overall execution can feel uneven.

The horror elements are present, with gruesome scenes and a macabre atmosphere. However, the film never fully embraces the intensity and suspense that one would expect from a traditional horror flick. Instead, it leans more towards a lighthearted and whimsical tone, prioritizing the romance and comedic aspects of the story.

The romance between Lisa and the undead boy is undoubtedly a central focus of the film. Their unconventional love story explores themes of acceptance, identity, and the power of connection. While their chemistry is palpable and their interactions often evoke a sense of tenderness, some viewers may find it challenging to fully invest in a romance between a living girl and a reanimated corpse.

The Verdict: Light Fun with Room for Improvement

In the end, “Lisa Frankenstein” offers a unique and entertaining take on a classic tale. The film’s nostalgic aesthetic, strong performances, and blend of genres make it an enjoyable watch for those seeking a lighthearted and whimsical experience. However, it falls short of becoming the instant classic it aspires to be, with predictable plot points and pacing issues holding it back.

While “Lisa Frankenstein” may not reach the heights of its inspirations, it still manages to deliver moments of light fun and heartfelt emotion. It serves as a reminder that even in the realm of the undead, love and understanding can prevail. So, if you’re in the mood for a quirky and offbeat film that pays homage to the teen-centric movies of the past, give “Lisa Frankenstein” a chance. Just be prepared for a story that, like its central character, is a bit misshapen but still capable of delivering some enjoyable moments.


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