It takes a good while for this belated sequel to get going, through a messy, meandering first half-hour that feels a lot longer, till all the pieces are in place for a souped-up showdown between our heroes and the nefarious Tall Man, gleefully icky and technically impressive (for its day) special effects and all.
Despite the return of an original star, third time’s most definitely not a charm for the Phantasm franchise. Bad acting, uninspired effects and a foolish diversion into Evil Dead-style comedy horror suck all the scares out of the Tall Man’s latest dreadful schemes.
Stitching together half-baked ideas from the cutting room floor 20 years before does not a cohesive movie make. In its attempts to tie up loose ends and fill in a deeper backstory for the series’ mythos, Phantasm IV only end up making things more confusing. And alas, there are few frights to speak of, though it is frightfully boring. Reggie Bannister is no Bruce Campbell, that’s for sure.