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Precious Moments with Lisa Frankenstein

Diablo Cody, writer of Juno and Jennifer’s Body, teams up with Zelda Williams (daughter of the legendary Robin Williams) for her feature-length film directorial debut: Lisa Frankenstein. Starring Kathryn Newton (Freaky, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) and Cole Sprouse (Riverdale), the film centers around Lisa, a girl mourning her recently murdered mom who has trouble connecting to the land of the living, namely, her new stepmother Janet (the wickedly amazing Carla Gugino) and her stepsister, Taffy (Liza Soberano in a standout performance).

Lisa and her dad (Stranger Things’ Joe Chrest) have moved in with Janet and Taffy during Lisa’s final year of high school, forcing her to adjust to a new town and new school after already suffering the devastating loss of her mom. Taffy is a popular girl with a clique of devotees who feels genuine in her compassion and concern for Lisa, attempting to help her out of her shell in making new friends and meeting boys — as long as they’re the right ones.

Kudos to Zelda Williams for creating a film that looks and feels like an actual 80s film. While Williams and Cody have said they drew inspiration from such films as Weird Science and Beetlejuice, the movie gave me major Edward Scissorhands and Heathers vibes in the best way possible. Taffy, as head of her clique, feels like a nicer version of the combined Heathers, while Lisa is most definitely cast in the role of Winona Ryder’s Veronica. Lisa is a delight but she is also a flawed character. She gets hurt and angry and doesn’t always make the best decisions.

In the film, Lisa frequently pines after the head of her new school’s literary magazine. Alternatively, she also spends a lot of time hanging out in the abandoned graveyard known as “Bachelor’s Grove,” doing wax rubbings of old tombstones and talking to the handsome statue above the grave of Cole Sprouse’s character. One night after attending a party with Taffy, a huge storm breaks out and a massive bolt of lightning hits said bachelor’s grave. A muddy moaning corpse (Sprouse in some amazing physical comedy) finds his way to Lisa’s house and finally makes actual contact with our Goth heroine. Hilarity (and later, murder,) ensues. I won’t go into further details to avoid spoilers. Newton and Sprouse have great chemistry. Sprouse, who normally utters sarcastic jabs on Riverdale, gives a performance that evokes the great physical work of Bill Irwin or Doug Jones. He is able to convey tenderness and so much more with just a look. The film has a killer soundtrack, excellent set design, and vibrant 80s costumes. Flannel nightgowns have never given me such deja vu before. This is a film that was truly a pleasant surprise for me and one I think I will enjoy even more upon rewatch. 

Check out Lisa Frankenstein now, before it leaves theaters. It’s original, funny, and darkly romantic. 


Diana DiMuro

Besides watching TV and movies, Diana likes plants, the great outdoors, drawing and reading comics, and just generally rocking out. She has a BA in English Literature and is an art school dropout. You can follow her on Instagram @dldimuro and Twitter @DianaDiMuro




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