"Lisa Frankenstein" is a goofy, sweet, often inspired rom-horror-com

Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

"Lisa Frankenstein" might just be the most adorable romantic comedy about “when corpse meets girl.” It’s morbid but goofy, weird, and sweet, so it must be from the delightful penmanship of Diablo Cody ("Juno," "Jennifer's Body"). Director Zelda Williams (Robin’s daughter) makes her auspicious feature debut, bringing Cody’s tonally specific and verbally witty script to life and fusing comedy, horror, and romance. The blending of tones can be a difficult rope to walk, but it makes for a much more special brew. "Heathers" meets "Weird Science" (only with a smelly-teared stud from the 1800s), "Lisa Frankenstein" is one of a kind.

After her mother’s murder and her dad remarrying, teenage outcast Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton) is most comfortable when hanging out in Bachelor’s Grove, the local cemetery. The only boy she has eyes on happens to live there, and he’s a piano-playing Victorian man (Cole Sprouse). When she tends his grave, Lisa wishes to be with him. Sure enough, a bolt of lightning strikes the deceased man’s tombstone and reanimates him. Lisa keeps her new man under wraps from her family, including stepsister Taffy (Liza Soberano) and horrible stepmom Janet (Carla Gugino). With a little help from a tanning bed in the garage, Lisa then tries giving this corpse a makeover with . . . body parts from others who won’t be missed. 

With an earnestness rather than an ironic nudge and wink, "Lisa Frankenstein" not only captures the fads of big-haired 1989. It also feels like a high-concept ‘80s-style comedy, complete with a clothing montage, in the way Lisa keeps “Creature” (as the corpse is credited) hidden in her closet. Cody’s script, however, is not so cookie-cutter and runs with a darkly funny, dementedly romantic twinkle in its eye. Read the full review at GuyAtTheMovies.com

Grade: B +

Focus Features released "Lisa Frankenstein" (101 min.) in theaters on February 9, 2024.