Lady in White (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lady in White (1988)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this supernatural nostalgia piece, a young boy tracks down a murderer with help from the ghosts of a slain little girl and her mother. In a voice-over, grown-up writer Frankie Scarlatti describes the disturbing events that intruded on his idyllic small-town boyhood. Locked in the school cloakroom by some other boys on Halloween 1962, young Frankie (Lukas Haas) encounters the ghost of Melissa Anne Montgomery (Joelle Jacobi), who re-enacts her own death by strangulation just before an unseen adult enters the school and tries to do away with Frankie himself. While recuperating in the care of his widower father (Alex Rocco), Frankie conducts some detective work and learns that Melissa is one of ten children killed over the past decade. Further encounters with the girl's ghost -- and the mournful specter of her mother, the Lady in White (Karen Powell) -- do little to help the boy solve the mystery of who killed the kids. Meanwhile, an innocent black maintenance man becomes the scapegoat on which the police hang the killings. However, thanks to the damning but enigmatic evidence Frankie has discovered, the boy faces imminent danger from the actual killer, who ends up lurking terrifyingly close to home. The sophomore feature from writer/director Frank LaLoggia, who made his name with the low-budget horror film Fear No Evil, Lady in White starred the young Lukas Haas halfway between his appearances in Witness and Rambling Rose.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Frank LaLoggia
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 14, 1998
Virgin Vision

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Lukas Haas
as Frankie Scarlatti
Alex Rocco
as Angelo Scarlatti
Jason Presson
as Geno Scarlatti
Renata Vanni
as Mama Assunta
Angelo Bertolini
as Papa Charlie
Joelle Jacob
as Melissa
Frank LaLoggia
as Adult Frankie
Tom Bower
as Sheriff Saunders
Lucy Lee Flippin
as Grace La Della
Sydney Lassick
as Mr. Lowry
Rita Zohar
as Mrs. Agnes Cilak
Hal Bokar
as Mr. Cilak
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Lady in White

Critic Reviews for Lady in White

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (5)

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

...the majority of Lady in White's horror-based elements fall completely flat...

Full Review… | October 11, 2012
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Lady in White

It's Halloween 1962 in the small town of Willowpiont Falls, there's a child killer on the loose and - three years on from Peter Weir's Witness - little Lukas Haas still hasn't learned when to keep his eyes shut. Before anybody gets the wrong impression, I really enjoyed this. I just feel that writer/director/composer Frank LaLoggia maybe spreads his talent a little too thinly; that he should have polished the script some more before throwing himself into the multi-tasking. There are several plot points that just don't make any sense to me. Firstly, why the school cloakroom? Even before we consider the killer's Herculean effort disposing of the body and the ludicrous risk run in doing so, the cloakroom is already looking like a most unlikely venue for a murder. Does the school have some special significance for the killer? If so, I must have missed it. Secondly, we are informed that ten years ago the police found blood in the cloakroom and had reason to suspect that the girl was murdered there. Sounds fair enough, until we recall that we saw the girl die with our own eyes - and she was strangled! So where does the blood come from, in sufficient quantity to attract the attention of the police? Thirdly, after an interval of ten years the killer goes back to the scene of his crime to retrieve an incriminating article. Although the script does trouble to explain why he can't afford to wait any longer to do this, my question would be: why has it taken him this long to get around to it? With a handful of nicely judged, kindly/creepy performances, the identity of the killer is not quite a forgone conclusion from the outset; what is inevitable, however, is how he will eventually give himself away. The thing that bothers me about this is that Lukas Haas' character, Frankie, should not need any prompting here; he ought to know who the killer is as soon as this clue is presented to him.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer


A young boy encounters the ghost of a murdered girl, resulting in his becoming the killer's next target. I must admit I really liked this film when I was younger, but 20 years on it hasn't really stood up very well. Essentially it's The Sixth Sense done in the style of The Goonies, and it doesn't really work. It definitely has it's moments, particularly the scenes involving the ghosts which are almost Tim Burtonesque, but the rest of the film is amateurishly directed and punctuated with particularly poor narration. The saccharine drenched family element is loaded with sentiment and stereotypes and the race message felt forced and tacked on. The last half an hour is pretty watchable, but more often than not, I found myself hitting fast forward, looking for the "good bits". I must be getting cynical in my old age!

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

"Did you ever see a dream walking? ... Well, I did..." To this day I cannot hear that song without seeing that creepy little dead girl.

Steve B.

Super Reviewer

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