Hello, Spongey here. Welcome back to Spongey’s Fright Fest!
Back in July, I Did DCOM month, where I looked at Disney Channel original movies. There, I did the first two Halloweentown films. And since it’s October, I wanted to look at some more Halloween DCOM’s.
Separately, of course. I’ve done Under wraps and Phantom of the megaplex, but there are plenty more. Including a recent one, i’ll get to sometime. .
So let’s start on that. This is an older, obscure DCOM that I surprisingly hadn’t heard of. But that did not stop Disney XD from showing it during the day awhile ago. Or a week ago since I am writing this to you from September. TIME TRAVEL!
This, is The Scream Team
This comes to us from the director of many DCOM’s, like Patching Pete, and some actual movies like-
…that. The writer has also done DCOM’s, including the previously reviewed Wizards of Waverly place and Hannah Montana movies. …Or I WILL review them, as I did this before did them. Time travel hurts my brain.
NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: …..Well, i did one of them.
So we have a (mostly) fine director and a (mostly) fine writer. What’s the result? Find out now!
PLOT: Two children named Ian and Claire move into a town where their grandfather has just died. They later discover that a society of ghosts are searching for their grandfather’s lost soul The children decide to find the soul but then find out that an evil ghost has stolen it. The children join forces with the Soul Patrol, a group of dead people who search for ghosts, to find the soul and destroy the evil ghost.
First off, let’s mention some actors you may recognize. The lead, Ian happens to be Joe from Time warp trio which is awesome. Though since he’s a different race from Joe, I was a bit thrown off.
Then we have Kat Dennings as Claire.
Yeah, she’s nice you know the drill.
Anyway, it’s fascinating seeing a future star in an early role like this. She must have been in her late teens or so when this was done. The late part explains why is still sort of nice here.
And of course, we have Eric Idle as one of the members of the soul patrol. That’s right Eric idle. Hell yeah.
Now for the actual review. This is a…weird DCOM. I mean, it’s stylistically different even though there’s no set style for these early ones. There have been a variety of styles, after all. But this still felt weird.
I think it’s because it uses some cartoon-y sound effects (more so than even say 16 wishes of Halloweentown, which also do this) and is more effects laden. Said effects blow dick but whatever.
This isn’t a bad thing at all, but it felt weirdly un DCOM-ish in an odd way. At least until the ghost world is introduced. Then it starts to be like HalloweenTown with it’s comedy. From then on it’s more DCOM-ish in a good way.
This is a pretty solid old DCOM. It doesn’t stand out as one of the best, but it does stand out. For one, the opening credits have the actor names and stuff go all wavy on some forest shot while an awesome theme tune plays.
Yep, for once a DCOM doesn’t have the credits just…play at the bottom, all boring like. Plus, that opening is so damn catchy and it thankfully plays at the end too. Anyway, the plot is pretty solid and interesting.
It start out normal ,as we see the kids and dad mourning the loss of their dad in different ways. It’s sort of sad even in the opening scene as they reflect. We find out that Dad didn’t exactly get along with Grandpa but he’s no less sad about his death. This plays into things later.
Then the kids eventually discover Grandpa’s ghosts might be haunting them to deal with unfinished business. But before he can talk to them, his soul is captured by some evil dude that comes in. And before that Eric Idle pops up wanting Gramps but ends up watching his capture.
They find out that Eric Idle works at what is essentially a waiting room for ghosts. When you die, you get your ass in line and go through the door to…the afterlife. Accountant/Head lady says she herself doesn’t even know where the door guys. I assume it’s like that one Are you afraid of the dark episode, where you go to heaven if your good, and hell if bad.
Only this is sadly lacking in Gilbert Gottfried.
I’ll talk about manager lady later. For now ,let’s get back to the story. Eric Idle and Black Sidekick #454, I mean Jumper are part of the aforementioned Soul Patrol. Yeah, despite the tittle there is NO POINT where it makes sense. There is no Scream Team. I guess the opening song wouldn’t be as catchy if it was called The Soul Patrol.
So the rest of the movie is them trying to stop the bad guy and also do some mystery solving by trying to figure out what this bad guy wants. They find out he is Zachariah Kull, a local legend they have a whole festival about.
Zach loved fire. He would always play with it and some weird shit with it. He was a pyro, sort of. Then one night his wife asked him to get his ass to bed./ So of course, he burned the house down with her in it.
Like any normal guy would do.
So after he did that, they burned at the stake. So now his ghost runs around stealing souls as revenge. Also he shoots fire. Zach is a very awesome/badass villain who is wonderful when he pops up on screen. Granted, he is always surrounded by bad CGI but whatever.
There is a very clever twist that ties into the mystery thing, regarding. But I won’t spoil since I know most of you haven’t seen the movie. But I will say that because of the twist, the climax may not seem like much.
But it still packs an interesting punch and it makes sense with the story. It’s more of a climax than most DCOM’s have anyway. So I will let it slide.
Plus, there’s more stuff AFTER the climax, so it doesn’t just weakly end there. There’s a sweet moment where Grandpa says what he’s been waiting to say to Dad the whole time. I won’t spoil it, but it’s very nice.
And that’s why the movie overall wins. It has more than I was expecting. The story ties in a few emotional aspects, and the story becomes clever at points. It surprised me with that aspect.
On of top of that, I like the characters. I already praised the villains so let’s discuss the others. There isn’t a ton to our main characters, but I still liked them. Ian is fine and he’s mostly likable. He clearly cares about Grandpa the most, which is cool.
But there is one part where he rages for some. I won’t get into hwy but it did feel out of place. But I’ll say this:It reminded of how Carly in trasnformers 3 was pissed Sam was actually trying to solve the situation.
Only this is one scene and this movie doesn’t suck. His actor is decent, but he’s obviously young. He’d grow into into as Time warp trio proved. Claire is the snarky-ish sister, and that’s why she is a lot of fun. Kat Dennings is very good in this role, and it’s nice to see she was good at a young…ish age.
She helps makes the character funny and enjoyable. Very nice surprise here. And of course, Eric idle is excellent as “Coffin Ed”. He’s playing himself again but for this movie, I welcome that. He’s quirky, snarky and just plain hilarious. He and Kat are the standouts here.
The dad is mostly the dad but he gets his moments, mostly in the end. Discount Eddie Murphy, I mean Jumper is probably the weak link here. He’s just there to be the black sidekick, and that’s it.
He’s occasionally funny and I like him enough. But his actor is tad too over the top at points, and he just doesn’t do a lot. He gets captured by the bad guy early on and he doesn’t show until the end. That’s how useless he is.
There’s also Manager lady who, aside from being hot, is funny. All she really cares about is getting souls through the door and that’s it. So when all this crap starts, she last thing wants to do is help. She’s the butt monkey of the film, and she’s a funny grouch type. She doens’t ultimately get what she wants in the end, which is funny but maybe a bit unfair.
Either way, she’s cool.
There’s also this neighbor guy named Mr Warner who is mostly the asshole neighbor, but he later turns out that he’s hiding something regarding Zach. It has to do with these books Grandpa had in his house before they gave them back to the library.
I won’t spoil it, but it kind of makes Warner a sub-villain. That’s all I will say. And that’s that I was talking about earlier regarding the plot. It moves into some directions I wasn’t quite expecting.
And for a simple fun Halloween flick, unexpected complexities are welcome. It also manages to be funny as Claire and Ian get some banter, and a lot of the scenes involving the soul patrol are funny. Mostly Eric idle, but again, that’s Eric Idle.
At times it can be odd, like with Jumper, but the humor is usually on point. At times it reminded me of HalloweenTown, which is never a bad thing. They mix it well with the story, but I never notice those kind of things.
At points, this is pretty much what a expect: An amusing Halloween DCOM. But at other points it was more, with how interesting and sweet it could be.
This movie has it where it counts. It’s not a perfect DCOM, or a fantastic film by any means. It has it’s slow parts, awkward moments and some crappy effects. But as a whole, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It surprised me by sweeter than other DCOM’s of it’s type.
It’s as funny as Under Wraps, or as creative as HalloweenTown. But it has it’s own char,. As a whole, it was one of the most interesting old DCOMs. It has a plot with interesting ideas, and even very interesting twits I wasn’t expecting.
The characters are likeable and enjoyable, the villain is cool, and it manages to be both funny and sweet. The acting is solid, especially from Eric Idle and Kat Dennings. It was everything an old Halloween DCOM should be.
The weird elements I discussed earlier is distracting enough to subtract some points, but it’s still pretty enjoyable. It started out as a solid B but the twists and sweet moments bumped it up a notch.
This wasn’t a very long review, but I don’t have a lot to say. It’s a genuinely enjoyable movie with a good story and good jokes. It’s another great film to help get you in the Halloween spirit along with HalloweenTown and others.
I say we take this flick out of obscurity and get it on that TBT thing or something. It deserves it. It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad I saw it.
NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: Holy shit, it was recent announced to be on the TBT thing. I AM A PSYCHIC
That’s another fright fest down. Join me next time for more fun.