A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a movie about ghosts who come out of the basement wall. Young children or sensitive viewers might be afraid of the haunted-house feeling of this movie. The ghosts have scary faces and make spooky noises. Phears is a frightening character, even if he tries to be funny.
What's the story?
Even though his tricks are corny and he trips over his cape, Max Doyle (Sterling Beaumon) wants to be a magician more than anything. And suddenly he happens upon some creepy special effects he never bargained for when a frightening demon named Phears (Brian Stepanek) plans to unlock the tunnel of ghosts on Halloween -- a tunnel that opens in Max's basement. Lucky for Max, two nice ghosts, Tara (Madison Pettis, Cory in the House) and Nicky (Luke Benward), arrive to help foil Phears' plan. An appearance by Ali Lohan as Traci, an attractive upper schooler, motivates Max to make his magic show even cooler -- albeit paranormal. When Halloween rolls around, the tricks and the treats are rolled up into a grand finale.
Is it any good?
R.L. STINE'S MOSTLY GHOSTLY does improve as it progresses, but the first 20 minutes are a disaster. The acting is stagey, and the plot is pasted together. As soon as Tara and Nicky show up, things begin to rev up. And the scenes of Max being nerdy at school work better than the scenes at home. Ali Lohan's cameo as Traci feels contrived, but kids are going to enjoy the energy that she brings to the production. It's not great Halloween viewing, but it's not as frightening as other choices out there.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: October 3, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: September 30, 2008
- Cast: Ali Lohan, Luke Benward, Sterling Beaumon
- Director: Rich Correll
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Holidays, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: scary images, brief mild bullying, language
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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.