Story: Mike is on the run, trying to figure things out. The devilish Tall Man is still after him for reasons beyond his understanding. While on his journey, Mike will discover things not known to him before and travels through different dimensions for more answers. Meanwhile Reggie continues to drive cross-country to find his friend.
Review: Before I begin this review I have a warning to give to those who have yet to see the 'Phantasm' series and are interested in doing so: Do not, under any circumstances, see this film first! You will be totally lost, maybe bored, and maybe even angry when it's over feeling like you've wasted your time. See, this is the mistake I made and I wish I had just been patient and waited until I could find a copy of the original. I did , along with the other two sequels, and after watching them all and then this one again I can now appreciate it better. It's the least in the series for sure, but at the same time it's a nice little addition to the series. I just don't know that it makes a satisfying conclusion.
Picking up right where III left off, completely writing young Tim out of the story like Liz from II, this sequel is different than the two that came before it. Gone are the action-packed moments and most of the humor and we're left with a deliberately-paced, yet still enjoyable entry in the series. Like III it's more like the original in that it has a non-linear plot and lots of dimension hopping and weird visions. If you liked that about the original then you'll like it here. Just don't go in expecting it to end with a bang. Though it could be an end to the series, it feels like more needs to be said.
The film opens with a really powerful five minutes, which includes an unnecessary, but very well done series recap. It does the heart good to see those behind this sequel try to keep the continuity with the predecessors tight. As usual the performances are excellent, and it's cool to see Angus Scrimm play "normal" for once. Another thing that is unnecessary, but cool to see is some deleted footage from the first film in the form of flashbacks. Rumor has it that Don Coscarelli's original cut was around 3 hours, so I can see where this footage would have come from.
One of the film's biggest pluses is that we finally start to get some answers as to how and when this all started. This where the flashbacks really come in handy. The score is also really good and dark, plus we get a song during the end credits sung by star Reggie Bannister. Won't win the Grammy, but it's a pretty cool little tune. What really helps the film maintain a chill factor is that the film's mostly set at night, whereas the other three had a little bit more time in the daylight than this one. As I said before, the pace is kind of slow, but steady with few to no bumps along the way.
The project was very low budget, but the minimal effects still shine through, especially one involving two of those flying spheres, but I'll let that be a surprise. As for flaws, there are a few. Unlike the previous films, this one is kind of lacking in action. Not that it's just lots and lots of dialogue and some light action, but it feels less compelling than the others. Again probably due to budget. It's nice to finally get some answers, but there's still some unanswered questions left.
It's nice seeing the extra footage from the first film, but a lot of it does feel like padding. As we all know padding the running time does not compensate for anything. And then there's the matter of Bill Thornbury's reprise of the role of Jody. It's great to see him, but as in the last one he's way underutilized here. But see this may not be the final installment after all. In fact, it's been said by Coscarelli himself that a script is ready for part V, they just need the budget to do it.
'Phantasm: Oblivion' is far from a bad movie, it's not even a bad sequel. But after an excellent start and two solid sequels you have certain expectations and this film just doesn't quite deliver enough. Still, it's above average and at least doesn't embarrass the series the way some sequels have.