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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ghost Patrol is a short movie about a pair of kids who are looking for ghosts in their suburban neighborhood. Intended for kids who are comfortable with pretend jeopardy, the movie features eerie music and sound effects, startling moments, and humorously scary visuals. In a "haunted mansion," objects fall, apparitions appear, kids are in danger, and some scary little creatures fly around to menace the humans who have dared to disturb their hiding place. The young hero and heroine are initially teased and made fun of by their teen siblings, who are redeemed by movie's end. Ethnic characters are part of the story, without comment. At the center of the film is a caution against fearfulness, and a message about holding fast to one's beliefs.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
GHOST PATROL is the story of two young best friends who have made it their mission to find any ghosts in their world, photograph them, and thus make believers of everyone. They've got just the tools they need; the only thing they haven't been able to find are the ghosts. But that's all going to change, and soon, when Gabi Flores (Lili Beaudoin) and Spencer Avery (Travis Turner) make their way to what appears to be an abandoned haunted mansion. And, what a wonderful coincidence! Gabi's mom, a real estate agent, has just gotten the sales listing for the haunted house. The kids' ghost antennas are at the ready, and sure enough, the spooky sounds and strange events that reverberate through the place find Gabi and Spencer in the company of what just may be the shadowy specter of Colonel Griest (Scott McNeil), the mysterious house's long-dead resident. If that isn't creepy enough, the kids have to contend with a glittering treasure room, some very aggressive little demons who fly through the air, and Gabi's older brother and Spencer's older sister, who just may be the most annoying of all.
Is it any good?
For kids who enjoy some well-executed comic scares, funny characters, and an engaging story, the film delivers, and the performances, animation, music, and sounds effects are solid as well. If things can "make sense" in a cartoon ghost story, they do in Ghost Patrol. The kids' relationships with both family members and a well-spoken apparition are grounded in reality, which keeps the movie accessible for young audiences. The movie is short enough (47 minutes) so that everything happens quickly and succinctly and resolves with ease. Underlying the spooky events are notions about fear and fearfulness which, though subtle, may have some impact. Originally made for the Disney Channel, it appears that this may be a pilot project. A pleasant viewing experience for kids who are comfortable with real versus pretend jeopardy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Gabi and Spencer and their older siblings in Ghost Patrol. Are troublesome brother-sister relationships different from bullying? Why or why not? How can families draw a line between teasing and bullying? How does your family cope with squabbling and teasing between siblings?
Did you notice the music and sound effects in this film? How do they both help create and sustain the mood?
- On DVD or streaming: October 9, 2016
- Cast: Lili Beaudoin, Travis Turner, Scott McNeil
- Director: Karen J. Lloyd
- Studios: Netflix, Disney Channel Original Movies
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 47 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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