The Frighteners

Universal / Wingnut Films Released 1996




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Movie Summary

Peter Jackson

The Frighteners is a movie about an architect named Frank Bannister, who loses his wife in a car accident. He abandons his career and falls into alcoholism. In what he first mistakes for a hallucination, Frank befriends three ghosts and begins spending time with them. Slowly, he realizes that the ghosts are real. He abandons the booze and starts up a ghost-hunting business. The three ghosts haunt a specific house, Frank offers the home owners his help and bravely gets rid of the ghosts. He continues this scam until one of the houses becomes the scene of a grizzly murder. Frank is the only one who sees a ghost that looks like the Grim Reaper, present at the scene. Since he's the first to find the body and there are no other suspects, the crime immediately gets pinned on him. In an attempt to prove his innocence, Frank begins an investigation, armed with only a single clue: a mysterious number drawn on the victim's forehead.



Metacritic Score

  • 75

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Liam Lacey

    Cluttered, improbable, brash, silly and over the top, the film is far more fun than it should be. [19 July 1996, p.D1]

  • 70


    A harmless and fun dark comedy that you'll enjoy casually watching from time to time.

  • 38

    Philadelphia Inquirer Desmond Ryan

    The Frighteners approaches the mysteries of near-death and out-of-body experiences with a script that is - even by this summer's prevailing standard of dumbness - out of its mind. ...

Michael J. Fox (I)

Michael J. Fox (I)

Frank Bannister

Trini Alvarado

Trini Alvarado

Dr. Lucy Lynskey

Chi McBride

Chi McBride


Troy Evans

Troy Evans

Sheriff Walt Perry

Jake Busey

Jake Busey

Johnny Charles Bartlett

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Cyrus: You've been promising a box of cigars for I don't know how long.
      Frank: Cyrus, I hate to break this to you but you're dead, you know. You can't smoke.
      Cyrus: Well, you can light them up and blow the smoke in my face.
      Frank: If I light up a cigar, I'll blow my lunch in your face.

    • Cyrus: See, Stuart, that's you're problem. You're too soft with him. You gotta just walk up to Frank. Just look him in the eye and just say, Frank, give me what I want or I'm gonna bust your ass!

    • Old Lady Bradley: They said she was an accessory after the fact. I knew the truth. It was cold-blooded murder.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Production Budget - $30,000,000
      Domestic Gross - $16,759,216 (96th)
      Worldwide Gross - $29,359,216 (47th)

      Domestic adjusted for 2013 - $30,940,091
      Worldwide adjusted for 2013 - $54,201,630

    • Filming locations:
      Camperdown Studios, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand
      Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
      Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand
      Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand
      Tulsa, Oklahoma
      Wellington, New Zealand

    • Taglines:
      1. Dead yet?
      2. Your number's up!
      3. Frightening, isn't it?
      4. No Rest for the Wicked.
      5. When your number's up, its up.
      6. Death is no way to make a living!

    • Music:
      Don't Fear The Reaper
      Written by Donald Roeser
      Performed by The Mutton Birds
      Written by Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell
      Performed by Sonic Youth


More Info About This Movie


Dark Comedy, Paranormal, Supernatural