A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Trico Tri: Happy Halloween is a comedy about what happens when a family moves into a Miami-area house that's haunted by nice teen ghosts. The family's teen son (Nick Merico) and the ghostly teen girl (Kendall Vertes) start a romance as wannabe ghostbusters try to ruin everything. Expect mild sexuality (a young couple starts to mess around on a bed but is interrupted in supernatural fashion), mild language (including words like "goddamn" and "ass," and teen slang like "LMAO" and "STFU"), some scuffling, and cigar smoking. When a teen tries to spike the punch at a party, a nice ghost persuades him not to do it. Only sensitive/young viewers who are scared of even nice ghosts are likely to be troubled. Note that characters speak in a fluid mix of Spanish and English that's sometimes referred to as "Spanglish" and is presented here with subtitles.
What's the story?
In TRICO TRI: HAPPY HALLOWEEN, a family gets a great deal on a house in suburban Miami, only for teen son Jorge (Nick Merico) to discover that it's inhabited by the ghosts of teen siblings Chris (Carson Rowland) and Christy (Kendall Vertes). Happily, the brother and sister are easygoing spirits who only scare people for kicks. Jorge and Christy soon find themselves attracted to each other, but the sibling spirits get on the wrong side of wannabe ghostbusters Max (Yamil Piedra) and Willy (Teo Castellanos), who go after the young lovebirds with malicious intent.
Is it any good?
You might say that this ultra-low-budget -- but harmless -- family comedy lacks professional sheen. The actual laughs in Trico Tri: Happy Halloween are few and far between, with the best line coming in the opening minutes (a Cuban American couple enters an abandoned home on a rainy night, saying, "What good can happen with two minorities going in that house?"). The rest might as well be silence.
This film desperately needs tightening at every turn. The whole "Throw a huge party" plot makes no sense. The ghosts' powers are undefined. There are some odd lighting choices and forced comedy. Castellanos fares best in that regard as dimwitted "nice guy" villain Willy. The sequence in which Jorge and Christy go on a date is also charming. Otherwise, it's not so easy to get through, though benign enough for tweens. And the fluid mix of English and Spanish dialogue/words (also known as "Spanglish") may resonate with some viewers (the movie's title may refer to a Spanglish pronunciation of "trick or treat," but it's never really heard as such in the film). At first the mix is a bit disorienting, as viewers who don't speak both languages will find their eyes darting up and down from the subtitles. But it ends up feeling like a pretty good way to learn whichever language a viewer might not speak as well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way they're used to seeing ghosts in movies. Was Trico Tri: Happy Halloween like that? Were you scared that the ghosts might secretly be evil? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?
What audience do you think this film is intended for? How can you tell?
The movie is in "Spanglish," aka a fluid mix of English and Spanish. How did that affect your viewing experience?
- In theaters: September 28, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: November 22, 2018
- Cast: Nick Merico, Kendall Vertes, Carson Rowland
- Director: Christian Vogeler
- Studio: Conglomerate Media
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Holidays, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some suggestive material
- Last updated: November 13, 2019
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