Lisa Frankenstein — Review: This Should Have Been R-Rated

KJ Proulx's Reviews
3 min readFeb 9, 2024

by KJ Proulx

Promotional Artwork for ‘Lisa Frankenstein’ [Credit: Focus Features]

This is one of the oddest experiences I’ve had at the movies in a while. Lisa Frankenstein is a film where the idea seemed fun, the people involved have made things I’ve enjoyed in the past, and the cast seemed to be having a great time, so what went wrong for me? Well, I think it all comes down to the fact that this movie is trying to be accessible to a wide age spectrum, but that made the movie lose a bit of its charm. This is easily a script that should’ve taken it one step further and been rated R. Many films have done similar premises to this one in the past, and while I won’t say they were all better in concept, the final products say otherwise. Let me explain myself.

Taking place in 1989, Lisa (Kathryn Newton), a teenager with a few questionable traits, wishes to be with someone who is dead and she has never met. His corpse is reanimated after she wishes upon his grave and a mysterious storm hits. From here, even though he can’t speak, they become close and kind of psychotic. This very quickly becomes a twisted and messed up movie, but under the PG-13 banner, it just felt watered down. There are multiple instances when limbs are chopped off or people are murdered, and while it all is done in the spirit of having a good, weird time at the movies, it lacks the visuals of everything that was going on.

Kathryn Newton is quite enjoyable as Lisa and I wish the film had better dialogue for her because even though there is some clever writing and she made me laugh quite often, she is a much darker character than the PG-13 rating allowed her to be. Cole Sprouse (in my opinion) has honestly never been better though. He has no lines, but that made for some great physical acting. For a character without dialogue, he held his own against Newton here. Carla Gugino plays Lisa’s stepmother and where that story leads is easily the highlight of the film, but again, every great idea this film had just felt watered down. I feel like a broken record talking about this one simply because I think this had all the bones of a great, fun, weird movie. There is also one scene in particular where I was laughing because I couldn’t believe what I was watching, but the movie couldn’t go far enough to show it actually happening. That was the majority of my experience here, even though…