Beetlejuice (1988)

Part 6 of my 13 Ghost Movies of Halloween!

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  • Directed by Tim Burton
  • Starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton
  • Written by Michael McDowell and Larry Wilson
  • Comedy
  • Rated PG
  • 1hr 32mins
  • 30 March 1988

Synopsis

A couple dies and is stuck in their home, bound to watch as a family from the city turn their beloved home into something they hate. They seek help from a trickster who promises to help them rid their home of the Deets family only to turn around and make things worse for them.

How’s the Story?

Beetlejuice is a fun story. The ideas of the afterlife as told in this one are very different from the usual ones, and it brings a little bit more humor than usual into the idea of death. The classic Tim Burton style shines through very much in the kind of dark-yet-not-really approach to comedy that is presented in this film. There’s, of course, darkness to the fact that they’re dead, but they seem pretty okay with being dead until their home starts being destroyed by the obnoxious Deets family. Also, death is hilarious. One thing I find so funny and probably true: Hell is a waiting room where your number is waaayyy down the line.

How’s the Acting?

I mean, come on, it’s Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, and Alec Baldwin…. what more can I say?

How’s the Writing/Directing?

I love how this movie is written. There’s a lot of witty things going on here that I love. You can’t really help but be charmed by Lydia, Winona Ryder is just too adorable. She’s written with such sharp wit next to her ditzy/crazy parents, and it’s just totally fun. Even crazy ass Delia is just a delight with how funny her crazy is.

How’s the Cinematography?

This movie has so much going on, and by far the best part is the use of straight lines and right angles. Out of all the stuff going on on the screen in this movie, the best part is the way that lines and angles are used to draw attention to the scenery. Yes, every house has right angles, but not to the extent that they’re featured in this movie. Straight lines and right angles aren’t natural, so when they’re emphasized, it draws out eyes to them and makes what we’re looking at more ‘involved’. There are so many shots in this movie, such as the exterior decorations that the Deets family adds, the model table, the afterlife, and even just inside the house after the redecoration that overemphasize the lines and angles of the space. Next time you watch it, really take a look. It’s brilliant.

Is It Worth Watching?

Obviously it’s worth watching. It’s one of the most popular Tim Burton movies and it’s something basically everyone has seen.

While I don’t love it quite as much as some people, because I do get bored watching it multiple times in a year, it’s still a very fun movie.

My Rating: 7/10

About J. Chelsea Williford

Movie addict, reader, writer, pop culture lover.
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