Spongey’s Fright Fest #5: Girl Vs. Monster

Hello, Spongey here. Welcome back to Spongey’s Fright Fest!

…Well, we’re already doing another Halloween DCOM. Only this one is a lot more recent, and truth be told, better. I don’t need to fully introduce this one, as it’s simply a recent Halloween DCOM.

Now, at this point they hadn’t done a lot of Halloween DCOM’s. They used to do a ton of holiday themed ones back in the day, but now they don’t. They did that Christmas Good luck charlie movie and maybe there were others, but that’s about it.

But in October of 2012, they finally went back to the Halloween well with a film that seemed to be a callback to the old days while still being a modern DCOM. That’s what we’re here to discuss today.

This, is Girl Vs Monster

PLOT: Skyler is a normal teenager who likes this one boy who is in a band and has an Alpha-bitch on here who used to date her love interest. But her parents happen to be monster hunters, but she doesn’t know about that. By accident, Skyler ends up unleashing Deimata, a really ancient and powerful; demon chick who will use her goons to feed of people’s fear and-you guessed it-take over the world. Now Skyler must face her own fear (especially when the parents get captured) before it’s too late.

The film was directed by Stewart Gilbert….who also did The Scream Team. I didn’t plan that, I swear. The movie had two writers: Ron McGee and Anne DeYoung. Ron hasn’t done a lot, but Anne’s credits include Princess projection program…and 16 Wishes.

That explains why this movie is now in the holy Trinity of modern DCOM’s, with Teen beach movie rounding them out. Yes, I enjoyed it that much upon re-watch.

I saw it when it first aired but before I re-watched it this week, I simply saw it as normal good. But upon re-watch, it’s a pretty impressive DCOM. For one, it is reminiscent of some of their Halloween films like HalloweenTown or even The Scream Team.

It has some of the fun elements those films had and of course the Halloween-y mood. But like those films, the humor, story and dramatic stuff all mesh well without ever lacking in any category.

See, DCOM’s like those are FUN and don’t feel overly dramatic or boring. With this movie, they call back to those and as a result, it’s refreshing. They also put in some ?Modern DCOM elements what with the teen issues and they even get to fit singing while they are at it. But thankfully, they mesh them pretty well. I never thought it was  too dumb with those aspects.

Skyler (Oliva Holt) is a teenage girl but it’s not all …well teen crap. There is a boy and Alpha-bitch, yes. But they are downplayed and as I watched it, I didn’t feel that the film was going too slow to fit those elements in. If anything, they kind of add to the themes, which I’ll get to in a second.

This movie does seem like it may be a bit empty when it comes to the story. Girl finds out she’s a monster hunter, big bad captures people, she stops it, the end. But I was surprised to see that there is more to the story.

(Yes, I’ll spoil some parts but I don’t think you care)

See, they do that thing where the parents don’t let her go out on Halloween cuz of the monster thing. But for whatever reason, Dad didn’t deem her ready to know about these dangerous monsters, so it causes some crap and she doesn’t know the real reason.

There is a small bit where it bugged me but overall they went through it fast and I didn’t feel it stopped the film in it’s tracks. It’s about like 20 to 30 minutes before shit goes down, but before then I was sucked in.

For one, we still had monster hunting action and all that. Also, we see Skyler has two friends who seem to be scared pretty often but less cuz of their own cowardly-ness and more because of the natural things people could be afraid of. Skyler is the opposite. She is never afraid of anything. She has her issues, yes.

But overall, she is pretty fearless. This doesn’t mean she’s a cold, emotional character as she is plenty sassy, witty, and still has issues to deal with. Mostly the cliché ones like the Ryan (Luke Benward) dude who is in this band.

But like I said it works. I also think Olive Holt was very good in this role. She’s pretty charming as she has clever comebacks and she helps makes the character likable. When she acts brave, you buy it. When she later becomes afraid and un-sure, you really buy it. She can do every element well, and she helps make for a good hero.

But back to my point about the themes and whatever. When the big bad Dimeta is unleashed by accident, we find out that she is the “eternal” one and all her monster goons she’s been away from for awhile, feed on fear.

Meaning, they latch onto someone and feed on their fear by showing up at moments to make them a quivering puddle of …fear-ness. For example, this one chick latched onto this friend Sadie and showed up during a spelling bee and made her misspell Goat. Because of this chick, Sadie is pretty afraid of public speaking of any kind.

The spelling thing gets a callback in a scene that is both cool and REALLY stupid. I won’t spoil it though.

Anyway, Deimata fed on the fear of Skyler’s grandfather. He held her off from doing real evil shit, but eventually she was too much for him. So she killed him. …You know-for kids!

Anyway, as soon as he was done with him,. Skyler had recently been born so she was like “Eh, she can be my fear host”. She went for Skyler and started on her fear. But the parents were like “fuck that shit” and they used their science smarts to become monster hunters like Grandpa.

Eventually, they were able to capture an ancient one, which no one has ever done before., Since Deimata was stopped early, Skyler grew up with no fears at all. But as soon as she is freed, her fears come flooding back which Deimata is sure to take advantage of.

See, that’s what I mean. It could have been a lot more basic and stuff. But it’s not, as that backstory is really interesting and adds a lot of depth. The monsters aren’t just monsters. They feed on your own fear and take advantage of it, even if you don’t know it.

The theme of  fear is very well done, and fit in a good moral: Fear is both good AND bad. Bad because it prevents us from doing the stuff we’d be great at. Good because it prevents us from doing really dumb things. Plus, it feels good when we actually get past those fears. And without fear being there in the first place, that would not be possible.

The movie starts out good, mostly with Skyler’s lines and personality. But once Deimata comes out, it gets really good. Skyler has to deal with this weird new feeling known as fear. She thinks it will stop her, as before, she could go through life without worrying too much about it.

But now she has this handicap, which she thinks will end her. However, the friends, especially Sadie are able to help as they know how to keep fear in check and overcome it. The monsters make it hard to do that, but of course things will go well.

I’m going on way too long about this, but it’s really well done. Much like 16 Wishes, they handle some complex themes very well and help make our hero actually interesting. The themes are good and the plot does well in giving us these morals.

It’s a bit on the nose, but again, like 16 Wishes, it proves that some anvils need to be dropped. They also fit in plenty of humor/plot so that this never gets sappy. Heck, there’s no room to be sappy so all the dramatic elements work. Not too many “Sweet” moments get in but they are still there all over the place.

The other characters aren’t quite as interesting, but they still work. Ryan is just…kind of there. He exists as a love interest and nothing more. He’s alright, thanks to Luke’s performance but otherwise, he’s just kind of there. Thankfully, the romance is underplayed and when it pops up, it never feels bad.

Henry (Brendan Meyer) and Sadie are cool. Henry isn’t quite as interesting but he gets some amusing lines and his monster is more fun. His monster is a scarecrow. While he never causes the end of the world, he is dumb which makes him amusing.

His monster may be evil but at least this one isn’t killing him so he can take his place in the living world. ….I take up any chance to do some Haunting hour role association.

Sadie is the more fear-prone one and she ends up being pretty enjoyable. She helps Skyler face her new fear. So that helps her add to the plot instead of just being there.

The parents are fun but they mostly serve as the parents. But they also learn a lesson as they have to accept that Skyler is growing up and she can handle some of this stuff on her own. This mostly comes into play during the climax, but I won’t spoil that.

There’s Cobb, the parents’ assistant in Monster hunting. He takes care of the…well everything else. He’s the main comedy relief, and he’s actually pretty funny. He doesn’t do much outside of exposition, but he’s still cool.

But now for the main ones I want to discuss: Myra (Kat McNamara) the alpha bitch and Diemeta the villain. Myra is just there to be the Alpha-bitch and actually doesn’t do much else. She’s fun and is better than the ones from say Camp Rock but you can’t help but find her pointless.

She gets injured trying to do something Skyler did once. But it turns she’s the lead singer of Ryan’s band, and Skyler ends up taking her place. So she exists for that. Also, Kat seems to love playing Alpha bitches as she played one in Jessie and then one in Kickiin’ it.

Yes, she got to pick on Oliva Holt twice. What are the odds?

At one point, Deimata (somehow) finds out about Skyler’s stuff and wants to take advantage of it at this big party she’s going to. See, Skyler’s fear that comes out is stage fright. And the one person that could take her man who is in this band she will be singing with, could easily scare her if she upstaged her. So Deimata takes advantage by taking over Myra’s body and then messing with Skyler when she is starting to overcome her new stage fright.

Now, that is pretty clever. But what’s interesting is that when Deimata takes her over, her neck is fixed and suddenly she gets a completely different outfit. Why she did that last bit, I have no idea. But her new outfit and monster makes her um .well….more interesting looking. I’l keep it at that.

Now that is smoking hot”

NOT HELPING.

Anyway, Deimata is a pretty decent villain. She isn’t the most complex or orginal villain ever, but she’s pretty cool. For one, the idea behind is clever enough to make her good. But she’s also ton of fun as she eats up the scenery and gets some really good lines.

This also helps to make her a threat and it makes some of the later scenes more suspenseful. She’s not the best but she is a very fun villain. Also, she gets the best line in the movie.

See, once she escape,  she asks her ghoul friends what kids are into in 2012 and finds out horror isn’t too huge now. (Nevermind the existence of Paranormal Actvity and Saw…).

Vampires are in….but they are romantic vampires who fall in love”

.BEST MOVIE EVER MADE.

Anyway, since this is a modern DCOM it of course has the main star singing. Thankfully, the band thing fits into the plot well and the like 3 songs never feel forced. They exists to show off the band and fit perfectly fine.

There is one song that is mostly a BLAM, but it’s also my fave in the movie. But outside of that, there is “Had me @ Hello” which is one song done at the end to do the “pop song played over epilogue” cliché.

This seems to be Oliva’s big song, which I know cuz she also ended up singing that in a recent Kickin’ it episode. Yep, even Disney XD has to push a singing star.

We also have “Fearless” which serves as a decent FUCKYOUVILLAIN song which ends up being really cool when it shows up. But the best song, and the BLAM , is “Nothing’s gonna stop me now”

When Skyler shows up at the party, she starts the song. She starts out scared but gains confidence. It serves as a good hero song….but the Deimata in Myra’s body shows up and takes advantage of her stage fright. She pushes Skyler off the stage.

Then Deimata!Myra, out of nowhere, takes the mike and starts singing that song, which fits her. Yes, this movie actually has a VILLAIN SONG.

HELL. YES.

This is easily the best part of the movie. The lyrics are perfectly fit for a villain song and it’s clear this chick is having a ton of fun doing this. The way the voice goes from normal to badass is awesome.

The way she sings it and brings her fanservice around is simply awesome. I’m not sure if it’s Kat singing this since the voice that sings it for the most part is different but whoever is singing had way too much fun. I love it.

So now we can wrap things up. I went through everything worth talking about. Or at least without spoiling the ending or whatever. I will say the action scenes are fun with lots of laser fights.

The climax is actually a climax that’s a ton of fun and some nice moments. The actual wrap up is a tad rushed but they give us the themes pretty well.

So how is it compared to the other 2 in the Trinity? Well, it does have more substance than Teen Beach movie when it comes to the main character and even themes and moral. It may also please non-musical fans more.

But at the same time, TBM is a lot funnier and I appreciate it more for what it represents as a parody. TBM’s big flaw is more of a flaw, but GVM’s flaws are a bit more bothersome.

I’d say GVM may be better to some, but for me they are mostly equal.. Now when I say holy trinity, I don’t mean the overall best modern DCOM’s. Just the ones that impressed me the most with how good they are.

Radio Rebel could be seen as better than TBM or something but like I said, one impressed me more. Now, I don’t count Wizards of Waverly place the movie as it’s based on the show…but it has an honorable place for being awesome.

Compared to 16 wishes….only a few parts come close. Yeah, I love to gush about 16 Wishes, especially after my recent re-watch of it. But it really is good and outclasses this movie for the most part. However, 16 Wishes has a different feel (for reason I’ll explain some other time) and it’s actually unfair to compare them.

But at the same time, some may prefer this to 16 Wishes. It’s best less obvious as “Star pushing movie” which may please Disney haters. Also, GVM’s more restrained humor may be more enjoyable if you think some parts of 16 Wishes humor are a bit cheesy.

However, I just prefer that. Just my preference, i guess.

So in terms of Modern DCOM’s that fit the bill 100 percent, Girl vs Monster stands as one of the best. It does remind me of the older stuff with the themes and how much fun it is. They also make it good for the new crowd without pandering.

It has it’s flaws in that category, mostly some minor bits like the love interest and stuff. It’s obviously no HalloweenTown but perhaps it’s just as good as Under Wraps. But not nearly as funny.

I highly enjoyed this one. A good modern DCOM that is a decent Halloween film at that. It’s good year round though, so unlike HalloweenTown, I won’t feel odd watching this in July.

It could have been dull or cliiche, but the story gives us great ideas and themes. The characters are all likable and fun with some decent performances behind them. The monsters are awesome, the jokes work well and it’s a fun watch while also giving us plenty of substance.

It’s all I could want in this type of movie. If you can stomach DCOM’s, then give this one a shot. I actually may want a sequel to this. They leave it open and you can do plenty with this idea without re-hashing It.

Get on that, guys.

Grade: B+

That’s another one down. Join me next time for more Halloween crap and whatever.

See ya!

 

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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