R.L. Stine's Mostly Ghostly

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
R.L. Stine's Mostly Ghostly Movie Poster Image
Mild tween Halloween tale could use more thrills.
  • PG
  • 2008
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Max is bullied and treated badly. His ghost friends help him repel the bully.

Violence & Scariness

Ghosts make threatening gestures, but these turn into jokes.

Sexy Stuff

Ali Lohan's character Traci is chosen as Max's assistant because he has a crush on her.


Max and his brother call each other "dork" and "dweeb." Max is called a "loser."


Some mention of texting instead of studying. A camera phone takes video.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJdgedwill June 9, 2019

Skip it

We decided to watch this for our Family Movie Night because our kids really liked Goosebumps 1 and 2. This movie was not on par with either of those movies. The... Continue reading
Parent Written byChad C. October 17, 2016

Not for children

My son and I attempted to watch this movie and after about 20 mins I shut it off. My boy was terrified by the "demon" in the movie. I have to admit... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 8, 2009

boring disney movie

another boring disney movie
Teen, 15 years old Written bySlendyDaMan May 13, 2016


not that great. An ok movie for tweens and for mature 8 and up. Some frightening content.

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 ...

  • Families can talk about whether they believe in paranormal events. Should we really be afraid of the dark? How can scary images get into our minds? What's more scary, a ghost or a bully? Should Max have asked his mom to help him?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedic scares

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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