Spooktober Movie Review: Beetlejuice (1988)

What is Beetlejuice?

Thanks to an untimely demise via drowning, a young couple end up as poltergeists in their New England farmhouse, where they fail to meet the challenge of scaring away the insufferable new owners, who want to make drastic changes. In desperation, the undead newlyweds turn to an expert frightmeister, but he’s got a diabolical agenda of his own. Beetlejuice is directed by Tim Burton and stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Winona Ryder.

Beetlejuice may have not been my first Tim Burton movie but I sure did feel like it was. Setting aside the two Batman movies Burton directed, the middling Charlie and Chocolate Factory remake he made. Those all somewhat felt like Tim Burton movies, but Beetlejuice is without a doubt a Tim Burton movie. His fingerprints are all over this movie. And I mean that as a compliment Beetlejuice is distinctly all Burton. I couldn’t see anyone else ever making this movie or something similar to it. In anyone else’s hands, Beetlejuice doesn’t exist. That’s because Beetlejuice probably shouldn’t work. I could easily see in an alternate universe where Beetlejuice is a massive failure and doesn’t become the cult classic it is today. But with the direction by Burton, an immensely talented cast, and a strongly written script not only did Beetlejuice work for the time it was released in. Beetlejuice holds up incredibly well decades later and deservedly is a Halloween fan favorite.

It’s easy to see why Beetlejuice has become a fan favorite, especially during Halloween time. It’s perfect viewing for the family. It’s funny, quirky, and is really lighthearted for a movie about death and ghosts. I have to chalk that up to Burton’s direction. Say what you want about Burton, but in a different director’s hands, none of this movie may have worked. A slight change in Beetlejuice, like changing its tone or a change in the writing could have been disastrous. The writing for Beetlejuice is terrific, but I also want to praise and the cast of Beetlejuice because they were fantastic. Seriously there are no weak links in this cast. Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffery Jones, and Micheal Keaton in my mind is the best cast you would want for your movie. They all have to bring something to the table and what a wonderful table it is. Their charming performances make Beetlejuice as worthwhile as it is.

I went into Beetlejuice worried I wouldn’t understand the hype for it because I can be pretty picky when it comes to what weird movies I like and the ones I don’t. We would have been in another The Texas Chain Saw Massacre situation then if that was the case. But that didn’t happen and I am honestly so relieved that I ended up liking Beetlejuice s much as I did. I don’t think it’s going to be a favorite horror movie of mines, but I completely understand why it’s as beloved as it is. Beetlejuice has a certain amount of charm to it that makes you have to like it no matter how weird it gets and it can get pretty weird. But no matter how weird Beetlejuice is, it’s also a sweet and funny horror movie that everyone should check out this Halloween if you haven’t already. A perfect Halloween viewing for the whole family or simply for oneself.

2 responses to “Spooktober Movie Review: Beetlejuice (1988)”

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