HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Walk, The
Mister Deathman
Eye for an Eye
Prisonniere, La
Z for Zachariah
Marty
Walk with Me
JFK
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  Girl vs. Monster Pop star or ghost buster?Buy this film here.
Year: 2012
Director: Stuart Gillard
Stars: Olivia Holt, Kerris Dorsey, Jennifer Aspen, Brian Palermo, Luke Benward, Brendan Meyer, Tracy Dawson, Katherine McNamara, Anna Galvin, Stefano Giulianetti, Adam Chambers, Genea Carpenter, Samuel Patrick Chu, Jarel Geis, Natalie Heath
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure, TV Movie
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Fun-loving teenager Skyler Lewis (Olivia Holt) knows no fear and has amazing acrobatic skills, but all she really wants to do is rock out with the band led by Ryan (Luke Benward), her high school crush. It is Halloween and Sky is overjoyed when Ryan asks her to front the band for the party tonight at the allegedly haunted McCrae Mansion. Unfortunately, Sky’s overprotective parents won’t let her out on Halloween. What Sky doesn’t know is Mom (Jennifer Aspen) and Dad (actor-writer Brian Palermo, who penned the hilarious animated comedy Hysteria!) are really monster hunters who keep an arsenal of super-weapons along with captive ghouls in their hi-tech basement. Locked in the house, Sky disables their home security system and accidentally frees a gaggle of ghouls headed vaporous witch Deimata (Tracy Dawson) who plans to kill her parents and eat her soul. Aided by her timid and terrified best friend Sadie (Kerris Dorsey), Sky must overcome her newfound fear in order to rescue Mom and Dad, recapture the monsters and, of course, ensure her pop performance goes down a storm.

A Halloween treat from the Disney Channel, this is basically Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the junior high crowd with a science fiction approach to battling the supernatural that deliberately evokes Ghostbusters (1984). Disney did something similar with their Chinese wu xia fantasy-themed Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2005), another coming-of-age fable about accepting responsibility. With goofy ghouls and wisecracking witches, Girl vs. Monster plays it safe and never tries to be as quirky as its Joss Whedon-scripted inspiration, replacing Buffy’s subversive agenda with yet another Disney heroine with dreams of pop stardom. Hence the abundance of bland pop tunes (although reoccurring love theme “You Had Me At Hello” is infernally catchy and actually quite sweet) that prefigure the groan-inducing twist wherein Sky discovers she can subdue the monsters by rocking out.

But coming from Annie DeYoung, screenwriter of Stardust (2010) and Princess Protection Programme (2009), this pulls off some distinctive flourishes that elevate it to the rank of rather likeable. Among these a priceless gag wherein the imprisoned-for-decades Deimata is aghast to learn Stephen King no longer writes horror novels and Twilight (2008) has popularised vampires as mopey romantic types. More importantly, DeYoung makes fear itself the central theme of the story. Sky has never been frightened until her first confrontation with Deimata. Upon learning the truth about her ghost-busting destiny, she sticks her fingers in her ears and sings “la-la-la!” DeYoung fashions the story into an ingenious allegory examining how adolescence can turn even vibrant, confident kids into awkward, self-conscious teenagers riddled with insecurities. In a neat conceit, while the heroine buckles, hitherto scaredy-cat Sadie grabs a monster blaster and gets stuck in. In spite of her fears she sticks by Sky and spurs her on to heroism. The script has one creepy idea, wherein every kid has their own personal monster out there waiting to get them, that flowers with the subplot where cowardly Henry (Brendan Meyer) must overcome a killer scarecrow (Stefano Giulianetti) to deliver vital monster-slaying equipment to Sky, and the notion that fear makes monsters, not the other way around, proves potent.

Stuart Gillard debuted with the much-maligned Blue Lagoon rip-off Paradise (1982) and made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993) but has latterly proven a Disney stalwart with such genre-friendly concoctions as Rocket Man (1997), Twitches (2005) and Avalon High (2010) an oddball re-imagining of the Arthurian romance in an American high school. His colourful comic book visuals add to an overall sense of fun and he stages action scenes that are quite lively by kiddie TV movie standards, particularly the rooftop laser battle climax. Actress-singer Olivia Holt, star of Disney’s karate sitcom Kickin’ It, proves a peppy and appealing heroine but the real find is Kerris Dorsey. She brings an affecting vulnerability and nuanced sweetness to a well-scripted role. Elsewhere, Katherine McNamara brings welcome gusto to her role as the mean girl demonically transformed into a glam ghoul in rouge who upstages Sky at her pop concert. Is that what passes for evil among teen girls these days?

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1579 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: