REIVEW: Scrooged (1988)

In this retelling of A Christmas Carol, Frank Cross (Bill Murray), a selfish, cynical television executive, is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

This is one of those classic Christmas films that I had never seen before so watching it as an adult without the nostalgia factor is probably a different experience to those who’ve watched it for years. I will say, if I had watched Scrooged as a child, it would have really freaked me out and scared me at some points.

There’s the ghost of Frank’s former boss Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) who warns Frank that he’s about to be visited by three ghosts. The make up and prosthetics are great as he really does look like a rotting corpse, with a mouse in his head and everything. Then there’s the Ghost of Christmas Future which was dressed like the Grim Reaper but again had freaky prosthetics going on. The future it shows Frank is also kind of horrifying and one scene would definitely have given child-me nightmares.

I think that’s one of the things I found so odd about Scrooged. It’s supposed to be a comedy and with Bill Murray in the lead there is certainly a lot of funny moments, but the tone when it comes to some of the ghosts and what one of Frank’s fired employees goes through is a lot darker. It really pushes some characters to their limit and the humour is also often dark and weird and the whole thing just feels a bit disconcerting. That’s not to say Scrooged is bad or this hybrid of tone doesn’t work, strangely it does and how chaotic it is works in its favour.

Having Bill Murray as the lead and in the Ebeneezer Scrooge role works as he has a dry sense of humour but still manages to play Frank as someone you might not hate to be around due to his offbeat vibe, even when Frank is at his cruellest.

I can see why Scrooged is a Christmas film that people routinely watch. It has the happy ever after and is based off of a classic Christmas story, but it’s also weird and has a darker undertone that doesn’t make it cheesy. 3/5.

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