Ghost Trap

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Ghost Trap Movie Poster Image
Unbelievably terrible sci-fi is a dreadful disaster.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 81 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Good students can make interesting discoveries.

Positive Role Models & Representations

An inspired science teacher tries to engender enthusiasm for his subject in his bored students. Cynthia is a dedicated science student. And although the neighbor she must serve is difficult and rude, she has great empathy for the woman.


A good science student sends up a small homemade rocket that causes a neighbor to fall and hurt herself. A man falls off a ladder.


"Old biddy," "old bat," "damn," "heck," and "shut up."


Diet Pepsi is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ghost Trap is a 2013 fantasy/sci-fi movie. Given the thousands of good children's movie that are available, there would never be any reason, short of the sudden destruction of every other movie ever made, to subject anyone to the experience of sitting through this dreadful mess. A science teacher shows junior high students how to detect and catch ghosts. The language, situations, and story are all numbingly lacking in wit and art. Profanity and name-calling include "old biddy," "old bat," "damn," "heck," and "shut up." A good science student sends up a small homemade rocket that causes a neighbor to fall and hurt herself. A man falls off a ladder.

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What's the story?

After her science project, a homemade rocket, accidentally hurts a neighbor's leg, Cynthia is sentenced to help the woman in her reportedly haunted home. There, she captures the ghost of a dog in a vacuum cleaner, then learns that the reclusive woman has been vainly using spells to summon her dead husband to clear his name of embezzlement charges levied before his death. Cynthia's science teacher has secretly been researching ghosts and helps her and some friends capture other ghosts. All the commotion finally spurs the dead husband to appear. The timing is good, as the children have just discovered evidence to exonerate him of all charges. There is much talk of voltage fluctuation, Newton's third law, and electromagnetic fields in service of legitimizing the science teacher's interest in ghosts.  

Is it any good?

Be warned that it would be fair to describe watching this display of cinematic ineptitude as a mild form of torture no decent kid or adult should ever have to endure. Volumes would be required to explain the ways in which this movie is awful and makes no sense, but those who have seen the 2013 Junior High Spy by the same director-writer team will be familiar with scenes that are incompetently conceived, lifelessly acted, and cluelessly directed. Save yourself the agony and skip this miserable movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why a movie this bad ever got made. What do you know about the process of how movies are made? How could you find out more?

  • Can you think of specific ways that the writing, acting, and direction of this movie could have been improved? How could the story have made more sense?

  • How would you remake this movie, other than rewriting it?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi and fantasy

Themes & Topics

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