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REVIEW: ‘Lisa Frankenstein’ is a fun and dark dramedy

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Sela Margalit
“Lisa Frankenstein” combines the ’80s with a fresh take on the classic tale.

The ’80s, to those who didn’t live at that time, were campy and fun, and that’s exactly what Zelda Williams captures in “Lisa Frankenstein.” From the fashion to the decor, the film aesthetic was the mixture of a 1980s coming-of-age film or, in this case, per the synopsis, a “coming of RAGE film.”

Diablo Cody, writer of “Jennifer’s Body,” wrote quite the creative script with several quips, ’80s lingo and even the few sounds/lines coming from Cole Sprouse as The Creature. The actors perfectly pulled off such different characteristics, from Carla Gugino as Janet Swallows, the uptight stepmom, to Liza Soberano as Taffy Swallows, the peppy cheerleading personality. 

One of the coolest parts about the film was the opening sequence animation with a subtle nod to shadow puppetry that provided some background on The Creature. There was also a beautifully done dream sequence that really showed off the mentality of Kathyrn Newton’s character, Lisa Frankenstein. Animation was used a couple of other times within the film, but I really do love that it was a big part of the opening. Live-action films with animated opening sequences really make the film, in my opinion.

The setting embodied what the exaggerated ’80s felt like according to cult classic ’80’s films like “Can’t Buy Me Love” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” It felt more campy and bright, which is such a contrast to the story and the main character of Lisa Frankenstein, who has a darkness within her. But it really showed how much of a main character she was to contrast with the surroundings and people around her.

The soundtrack was nothing short of amazing, with ’80s hits mixed with a few covers from artists of today, but the covers blended in with the original ’80s songs that played throughout the film. All the songs also played at important parts of the film, some of them matching up quite perfectly and others contrasting with what was actually happening in a scene. 

The costume designs and make-up were also nothing short of amazing, especially The Creature. The makeup on Sprouse was an evolving costume as he became less undead throughout the film. The contrast of costumes between the adults and teens, especially the teens in different cliques at the high school, shows a world divided. Taffy and Lisa also showed that contrast, as Lisa slowly found her own sense of gothic style throughout the film as compared to Taffy’s preppy fashion. 

This film is such a fun and twisted watch just before Valentine’s Day. It really does take an age-old story and put such a twist on it. “Lisa Frankenstein” makes the story modern, even if it is set in the ’80s. It’s a good watch with a powerful cast and unique writing.


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