Contrary to popular belief, bigger isn’t always better. Phantasm 2 fails to deliver on every level and will surely disappoint fans of the first film. The original Phantasm was a low-budget affair but still offered plenty of scary moments. The mysterious and surreal atmosphere was intriguing and kept the audience engaged. Who is the Tall Man and what does he want? What’s the deal with his silver ball? Why are there midgets in cloaks running around?! The dream-like quality of the film added to the suspense factor and the movie ended up doing very well. As happens with most successful movies, they tried to capitalize on it and make it a franchise but didn’t keep the spirit of what made it great in the first place.
Phantasm 2 had a much bigger budget but it seems like they didn’t know what to do with all the extra money. It takes place well after the first movie but it doesn’t do a great job of connecting the two story-wise. The story in general is very disjointed—characters come and go for no discernable reason and their motivations for doing certain actions make no sense. The Tall Man is much more prevalent but because he doesn’t have much background he doesn’t make too much of an impact. It’s as if the director was saying “Remember how scary the Tall Man was? Now he’s everywhere so it’s even more frightening!” It doesn’t really work like that because it’s more the implication of the character that inspires chills, not him just roaming around the halls saying “Boo!”
Phantasm 2 does have a couple of cool moments and they upped the ante on the special effects front. The creatures are well done and it does have a camp factor that is endearing. It’s not in the same caliber as the first film but hardcore fans will probably still want to add it to their collections. It’s really a cautionary tale of more money and production not necessarily equaling more scares.