Have you ever heard such a desperate attempt to engage kids in a film as this title? The opening credits are in Comic Sans as well (cardinal sin of fonts) to really hammer home that generational chasm between the filmmakers and the target audience.
There’s a Scream parody to being with and if that doesn’t establish that it’s the early noughties, the web-surfing statistics definitely will. “48,000 sites?” exclaims one of the kids, which is admittedly insane. I mean, as of January 2014 there were 180,000,000 sites and 861,379,000 registered site names. How far we’ve come.
Ellen Page has also come a long way, but it’s still early days here so she’s stuck playing Stella, an outcast due to her love of Halloween frights. Weird though, that her nemesis Terri wins best haunted house every Halloween- so kids like frights, why isn’t Stella fitting in? Maybe because she doesn’t shut up about her plans to scare people. It is a bit excessive planting bats in random lockers at school for “emergency scare” situations. Like literally when does that come up naturally? She also says things like “holy cat!”, bless her socially awkward socks.
In a bid to further ostracise herself, Stella- you guessed it- downloads a ghost from a website specifically for that purpose! But let’s ignore that corrupt company (harvesting the dead- very Doctor Who. I could imagine a 2007 David Tennant getting very angry about that. Then again, I have no trouble imagining 2007 David Tennant.) for a boring macguffin hunt! There was some statue stolen and this cab driver Winston was killed running from the scene of the crime- completely innocent of course. He is guilty of being very unfunny though. I’m not saying Winston should have been hit by that bus, but he was on his way to an open mic night so if he hadn’t died on the road he would’ve died on stage. If you think that was a bad pun, Winston will drain you.
There are so many plot holes in this film. Stella’s new in town, but she’s been competing against Terri for years? The robbers think Winston has the macguffin so they follow his trail using one of his shirts, despite the fact that they’ve never been to his house and have only met him three times. Ellen Page wins awards in Hard Candy just a year or two later, and yet she is in this film? Also, Stella’s parents are way mean. Her dad loses his job for reasons (some related to the “emergency scare” bat locker) and is like “an apology won’t pay the bills, Stella!” And her mum blames the weird behaviour on Stella not “acting like a girl” leading to a pointless sad makeover montage.
There’s only one member of Stella’s family we can rely on, and that’s brilliant overacting kid sister Kelly. Somebody should give Kelly an Oscar for her amazing reaction to getting ketchup down her front- any normal child actor would’ve pouted, or thrown their arms about woodenly, or shrieked the line. Not Kelly. She does all three.
Spoopy Rating: 2/3 more crappy than creppy
Kelly Rating: 5/3 Spin-off Kelly film plz