Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 9
  2. Negative: 3 out of 9
  1. As audacious as it is compelling and as dark as it is erotic. Its sexuality is explicit, alternately teasing and brutal, and one that is ultimately a cautionary tale.
  2. Reviewed by: Ellen Fox
    A muddy, dreamlike Portuguese offering.
  3. 50
    An interesting addition to a genre that tends too often to disregard artistic technique.
  4. 50
    Easily the artiest queer stroke movie of the year.
  5. Reminded me most of Jean Genet's "Un chant d'amour," with bondage and latex replacing incarceration and cigarettes. This is not to say that it's equally good or poetic, but the eroticizing of a whole universe is no less apparent.
  6. 40
    While the transgressive trappings (especially the frank sex scenes) ensure that the film is never dull, Rodrigues's beast-within metaphor is ultimately rather silly and overwrought, making the ambiguous ending seem goofy rather than provocative.
  7. With little dialogue, a murky night setting and the slowest of plots, this Portuguese fantasy only comes alive when it conforms to its true nature as arthouse pornography.
  8. 30
    First-time director João Pedro Rodrigues' unwillingness to define his hero’s background or motivations becomes more and more frustrating as the film goes on.
  9. Both grueling and dull. Imagine (if possible) a Pasolini film without passion or politics, or an Almodóvar movie without beauty or humor, and you have some idea of the glum, numb experience of watching O Fantasma.

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