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Review: Panthom Fun-World. Mediocrity in a Lackluster Package

  • Release year: 2023
  • Director: Tory Jones.
  • Producers: Ken Daniels, Ganon Gorder, Steven Hugh Nelson and Paul Wintner.
  • Screenplay by: Tory Jones and Jerron Spencer.
  • Cinematographer: Tyler Horner.
  • Music by: Frank Dormani.

Synopsis: a woman who is in charge of raising her teenage brother, takes a job working the night shift at a fun park with a sinister past.

Shotgun Commentary: Halloween Ends meets Five Nights at Freddy’s in a movie so bad…that’s it actually, so bad.

Fig. 1. The original owners of Phantom Fun-World in a commercial for the establishment. Source: Phantom Fun-World (Tory Jones, 2023).

Review

Phantom Fun-World is what happens when you take Michael Myers and put him in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Only you don’t bother explaining the reason behind Myers’ abilities and the establishment is anything but creepy. Now rename Myers to The Phantom and Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza to Phantom Fun-World, and there you have it, one of the most regrettable experiences of your life.

Woke…?

Before getting into the plot itself, it is important to talk about the most puzzling features of the film: the woke comments. The characters are constantly making the typical woke comments about harassment, sexism, etc. and, while they are completely right, the reason for their existence is very puzzling. It feels like after the script was written someone read it over placing stickers with comments where some character did something potentially cancelling, and they just got another character to read them over at the right time.

Fig. 2. Three of Andi’s co-workers at Panthom Fun-World.
Source: Phantom Fun-World (Tory Jones, 2023).

I don’t know if they are trying to hide their mediocre work behind “we had a very important social critique we wanted to share” or to be more likeable by adding those comments, but they feel incredibly fake, like they are part of another story and there was a mixup in the printer. It’s ok to make super cheesy slashers, they have their own appeal, but don’t spit and tell me it’s raining, bit of respect for the audiences please.

Asleep

The film begins after three thousand years of the main character, Andi (Celeste Blandon) walking from her house to her new place of work. Like…just walking. Nothing happens…like, at all. I get bored even when I do the walking myself, why on Earth would I want to watch someone else doing it? Who thought that watching a girl walk for ages without absolutely anything going on would be an engaging beginning for a film?

Being completely fair, there is a super lame and entertaining commercial and what appears to be a ripoff of one of Five Nights at Freddy’s before the walking scene, but this just means that the first few seconds are amusing and then the whole thing fizzles out quickly as lighting. And what is worse, it never really recovers.

Fig. 3. Cole (Jace Carson) readong in the kitchen.
Source: Phantom Fun-World (Tory Jones, 2023).

There are some attempts though, like the scenes where Andi’s brother Cole (Jace Carson) is watching low-budget horror movies. The fact that they decided to save money by not buying any rights to show a bit from an actual movie and decided to do their own in such a lame way is absolutely brilliant. Nothing but respect there. It almost makes up for the terrible acting happening on the other side of the screen because you are so distracted thinking about what you just heard and saw that everything else feels irrelevant for a while.

A nightmare

The acting is a catastrophe. Usually slashers can be enjoyed regardless of their means and talent, or lack thereof, but in this case it is absolutely painful to watch. It makes you appreciate Christmas Bloody Christmas, and that is saying something.

All the actors know their lines to a T, but they deliver them with the gracefulness of a brick, not what you expect from a movie, even if it is a B-movie. Some of the characters make incoherent facial expressions like smiling when there is a tense or frightening moment, or when they are talking about serious themes.

Fig. 4. Andi’s best friend Collins (Spencer Madison) talking to the killer.
Source: Phantom Fun-World (Tory Jones, 2023).

Additionally, everybody looks incredibly uncomfortable to be on camera. Their body language is stiff af and it is very awkward to see such tension. You know it is bad when it affects you as a spectator.

The amount of notes I made while watching the movie just about the acting took up most of the total annotations for the film, but I am not a fan of being brutal for no reason. I’d rather finish with one of my best things about the film: murders.

Sweet dreams

Every single death is so unrealistic and awesome! They are everything you could hope for in a slasher and more. There is blood, goo, silicone and gruesome effects all over. It will make the slasher lover in you jump with joy and the experience more bearable overall.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • If someone comes at you with a knife, try running away instead of walking away very slowly.
  • If you see someone getting killed, start running for your life immediately, don’t wait until the killer is done with the other person. A murderer won’t give you a headstart, you have to give it to yourself.
  • Engaging in intellectual activities instead of sex is no longer the safe way to survive a horror movie as a woman…or is it?
Fig. 5. Andi’s co-worker Paige (Megan McGarrah) walking away from the killer.
Source: Phantom Fun-World (Tory Jones, 2023).

What’s your take? Did you enjoy Phantom Fun-World? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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