“The Wraith” is a film that’s interesting in that it not only should be remade, but almost requires it.
That being said, I don’t only want to point out what makes it such a mediocre movie – it’s too easy – but offer some advice which could improve it.
Mike Marvin’s film, sadly, smothers a taut horror film beneath extreme mediocreness. The movie is, sort of, a murder mystery, in which – Jake Kesey (Charlie Sheen) is klled by Packard Walsh (Nick Cassavetes) and his gang, which somehow results in him coming back from the dead as a wraith (a ghost or an apparition).
It’s an idea behind some very successful films, but goes nowhere here.
It should have played like an amped-up version of John Carpenter’s “Christine,” but instead ends up a dumber version of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” if such a thing is possible.
“The Wraith” was made in the 80’s, if the music, hair styles, denim jackets (with fringes), and half-shirts didn’t make that apparent. There’s no character development to speak of, and for a film that revolves around a murder, virtually everyone lacks the depth to make that matter.
And if you don’t care about the characters, there’s no point in going on.
Though it gets worse. Because – for a film seemingly about teenagers – all the main characters look awfully like adults in either their early to mid-twenties.
But even worse, nothing that happens makes any sense.
For instance: Why does Kesey become the Wraith? What is the Wraith? And what does he have to do with a supercharged Dodge concept car? Why does he give his brother (at the end of the film) a car that was used to kill – at least – four people? Does he think that the police (even police led by Randy Quaid) would let him keep it? And the biggest mystery of all: What are those metallic parts that glow ominously and disappear whenever the Wraith kills one of Packer’s gang? He appears to be wearing them earlier in the film, and they look like some sort of leg brace.
Which makes no sense –since the character isn’t shown to have any problems walking – though it makes just about as much sense as everything else that proceeded it.