Monday, October 02, 2017
The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Who’s In It: Victor Sjöström, who also wrote the adapted screenplay (from Selma Lagerlöf's novel) and directed the film.
What It’s About: A cruelly selfish, deadbeat dad (Sjöström) receives encouragement to turn his life around. But will he heed the warnings in time to avoid becoming the next driver of Death's carriage?
How It Is: Like The Penalty, The Phantom Carriage is another disappointing "horror" movie. It's got a great hook: that the last person who dies on New Year's Eve has to drive Death's carriage for the next year and transport souls to their final destinations. But instead of focusing on the dread around that, it's a morality tale about Sjöström's character and a dying woman (Astrid Holm) who desperately wants to help him.
It's well acted, but it's also melodramatic and the same story could easily have been told without the "supernatural" elements.
Rating: Two out of five ghostly coachmen.