Ben Affleck is a sheriff who comes to the aid of two young ladies (one played by the smoking hot Rose McGowan) who are alone in an abandoned Colorado town. He, along with another cop (Liev Schreiber) and an occult professor (Peter O'Toole), must take on the Ancient Enemy, a creature of evil incarnate from before the dawn of man.
Starting in the Kevin Smith film "Mallrats" and escalating to Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", there has been the cult joke that "Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms". But the sad truth is that "Phantoms" might just be Affleck's best role up to that time... (though he has done some fine work since, particularly "Extract").
"Phantoms" is something of a transitional piece. On one hand, the film clearly gets some of its imagery from other films, most noticeably John Carpenter's "The Thing" (the creepy alien-like dog). But, also, "Phantoms" has lent its imagery to those who have come after it. There is evidence to support the theory that "Silent Hill" took some of its abandoned town scenes from Phantoms. The exact connection, if any, is unknown to me. I also see similar themes in "X-Files: Fight the Future", with the petroleum-based alien. And the influence this had on "Mothman Prophesies" is undeniable.
But in short, "Phantoms" is an interesting story with above average special effects for the time and enough gore to sustain the average horror of science fiction fan. The story might be a little lacking, but when you keep in mind it's a Dean Koontz story, it's not a big shock.
Fans of "The Thing" might like this, and any Affleck or McGowan fans should definitely check this one out. I own it, and I have no regrets for my purchase. If it hasn't become one already, someday this will be a cult film. My only concern? The DVD is a bit too bare bones.