You play a good game, boy, but the game is finished, now you die.
Phantasm is one strange movie, and a difficult one to talk about without giving too much away. Right from the start and all the way up to the last scene, something about it is off. Early on, the plot, the editing, and visuals are rather unusual, but not so much that any of it puts you off. The film becomes more and more outlandish as it goes on, but it happens so gradually that it doesn't quite feel like it's so much that it snaps you out of the spell it casts. It seems to operate on perfectly executed dream logic. It's just strange enough to capture your curiosity, answers very little as it moves along, and takes you to a place you'd never expect it would end up but by that time, it's already too late.
Anyone who's seen Phantasm will know that there's good reason why little of it makes any sense the first time you watch it. The ending hits and you find yourself retracing all the steps, trying to make sense of it, trying to find some detail that disproves the last few minutes of it. Yet repeat viewings reveal that the ending was clear the whole time. For as dated as it is in a few areas, this makes it quite remarkable.
Phantasm builds tension like no other movie I've seen does. Instead a slow, steady build up in a single scene, the way it feels like it's being made up as it goes along creates such a unique, unsettling atmosphere that rises as the film progresses. It's also rare when a twist ending actually gets better on multiple viewings. I hope the new remaster of it encourages a new edition on home video, as while it is dated, there's nothing else quite like it in horror cinema.