Phantoms | Chicago Reader

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Poker-faced sheriff Ben Affleck and two deputies, including a hyperactive Liev Schreiber, come to the aid of Joanna Going, a doctor, and Rose McGowan, the younger sister she's brought home to Snowfield, Colorado. During the older sister's brief absence the town has filled with hideous dead bodies, and the movie begins by laying out a mystery that threatens this handful of variously resourceful characters as they try to determine whether they can or should leave. But when a militaristic task force with a reluctant expert in tow (Peter O'Toole) suddenly descends on Snowfield, the intrusion revokes the eerie sense of quarantine. Revelations about the nature and motivation of an “ancient enemy”—the subject of research that got O'Toole dropped from the faculty at Oxford—are self-defeating: all the movie's free-form horror phenomena might have been more interesting if the plot didn't keep insisting on a systematic explanation for them (1998). Dean Koontz adapted his 1983 novel; Joe Chappelle directed.

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