Monsterville Cabinet of Souls is property of Universal
Hello, Spongey here.
So…there’s a Goosebumps coming out. That’s…pretty cool. I haven’t had any chance to discuss it but trust me, I have been talking about it on Social Media. I know it’s happening. Personally, I’m very pumped for it.
You won’t see a general review for it but next year, you’ll see me get into it. For now, just know I can’t wait to see it. Besides my long awaited conclusion to the Haunting Hour Retrospective, I decided to go into another Stine movie.
I thought it was out but guess what? A new one came out only a couple weeks ago! Yep, and it’s time to dig into it. I think by now I know what Stine is doing with these movies, besides the Mostly Ghostly ones.
It’s common for a famous producer to attack their name to a line of films despite not actually making them. Wes Craven Presents, anyone? I think Stine is doing that, which makes since.
So while he only came up with the idea, it’s still very much his product. Besides, some awesome alumni are involved in this. I was hyped for this due to the crew alone. Our director is Peter Deluise.
Yep, the guy who not only did some good Haunting Hour episodes, but also 16 Wishes.t To make it even better, our writers are Billy Brown and Dan Angel, the men responsible for making Haunting Hour what it is, and wrote my favorite episode.
Add some good actors and you have an awesome sounding flick. But will it be any good? Let’s find out!
This, is Monsterville: Cabinet of Soul
The movie opens on Halloween, as a girl smashes a pumpkin and her eyes glow due to this. …Okay then. She then transforms into a creature, which summons the opening credits.
It’s kind of like a more badass version of the Haunting Hour intro. We’ve got a good spooky mood and some intrigue as to what the plot might be. Now that’s how you open a movie!
We cut to a year later, as two boys are hanging out at some festival thing. One of them is played by an actor who was in Haunting Hour once. Yeah, that makes sense. We cut to our main character Beth, played by Dove Cameron. And that’s one pro right away. And her friend Nicole is played by Fireside Girl Ginger and the friend from Kirby Buckets.
She’s being a girl one of the boys happens to be into her, but he her yet to make a move. Well, we have one arc established. They have some small talk that pretty much tells me they will hook up in the end.
And from this bit, I know Dove is way better her than in Cloud 9.
Then we start a Halloween Dance contest thing because why not. It’s just an excuse for you to check your phone until a random creepy guy and his hot assistant. She is played by Katherine McNamara. Well, she earned my trust after her last Halloween movie, so let’s go!
“Dr Hysteria’s Hall of Horrors is not for the faint of heart”
Hey, I haven’t gotten that far yet! …Still got like a million Horrorland books to go. This guy makes a great first impressions as her enjoyable advertises his horror carnival thing.
His theatrics make it so the kids have a good reason to go there beyond the plot needed them to. After that, they walk home and…rap. Ugh. Beth and her would be love interest do the “seems like they’re having a moment but are actually not” cliché that I am growing to hate.
Seriously, it’s pretty annoying.
At home, Beth sees an exposition news report about a girl who vanished last year. It just says a girl vanished last year, because it’s such a slow news day, they are reusing old news.
The next day, a mystery kid shows up, played by Ryan McCartan. He is Maddie’s sort of love interest (Don’t ask about the sort of, it’s complicated) in Liv and Maddie, and Dove’s real life boyfriend. They started out before the show, so don’t worry about the dangers of the cast member dating thing.
His name is Hunter and Beth seems to take a liking to him, which will no doubt cause cliché troubles later on. Would be nameless love interest bumps into the hot creepy chick in front of the hall of horrors and basically hits on him.
Her name is Lilith. So with these cliches in place, can something creepy happen, please? Speaking of names, Kellen is the name of our boy hero. Only took 16 minutes to tell us his name.
Anyway, that night our heroes decide to check out the hall of horrors, only to find out that odd numbered ones are better. …Wait…that’s a review series for later.
It’s typical Haunted House stuff, but it’s got good effects and it’s spooooky. After a bit of that, Beth gets lost and ends up backstage, so to speak. Some dudes back there act strange, and seem like real monsters instead of guys in costumes.
She finds her way and goes home. She does some research and finds just some bland about the place and where it has been. Although she does start to get suspicious…which means need we the love triangle to butt in!
Quick, save us Lillith and that guy! She suggests that he join the show but he’s not sure. I am now reminded a bit of a Danny Phantom episode. That’s a good thing by the way.
By the way, she’s acting so sultry, I am glad I found out the actress is now 19.
They go for a ride and Beth sees this go down. Wah wah. This…doesn’t matter since it’s dropped in major of her telling the guy about the creature she saw. She is started to get worried, since that girl vanished on the same week the Hall of Horrors was visiting her town.
But she has no issues with the weird creepy hot guy dressed in black who randomly shopped up to be her love interest. Anyway, one of the guys (I somehow cannot tell them apart) bumps into Hysteria who invites him in to just chat.
He basically tells him that his friends doesn’t really appreciate him. Okay, I get where they are going this. Despite the love triangle stuff, this is kind of cool.
Then he shows him a magic portal videe of him rapping at a Comedy club. …What. His eyes go weird and he’s frazzled as he walks out. At least now I know from context he is the friend to Kellen.
He then sets his sights on Nicole and he says he will give her a special treat. …When a creepy man says that, you run. She goes in anyway and gets another portal vision, this time one of her being a bitch-y queen, making people her slaves and stuff. She’s more like Dawn than Belinda here.
…Whoa, i’m referencing shows my blog readers aren’t aware that I watch.
Meanwhile, Beth and Creepy New Guy sneak around to find out what is going on. Eventually they do find something..
“The Cabinet of souls”
They open the cabinet and find this very weird and creepy place full of people who seem to be frozen. One of these people happens to be that missing girl. Suddenly, some ghouls show up and take over some of the bodies, but thankfully, Beth escapes.
I gotta say that whole bit was pretty cool. Nice atmosphere all around. She and hunter bump into Dr. Hysteria who claims the Cabinet of souls is just an attraction. It’s a good thing he didn’t seem them go in.
Well it was just Beth. Hunter vanished during that part. Movie, you are not fooling me. …Mostly because he’s standing next to the villains on the poster.
They leave and Beth tells Kellen about what happened. Lillith happens to be there and she again says the hall of horrors is just an attraction. Beth doesn’t go into enough detail to convince the otherwise. Because R.L. Stine.
Despite her claims, Beth is still suspicious and Kellen pulls the jealous. Oh yeah the love triangle. I’m totally invested in that. Thankfully Beth agrees with me and storms off. I suppose the love stuff serves as a reason for people to be skeptical, so….fine.
After the obligatory dream sequences we cut to Dr. Hysteria feeding on souls. Yep, Half Life Evil confirmed.
The next day, Beth tries to talk to Nicole but she’s pretty far gone at this point. Amazingly go, of course. Lilith tells Kellen he will be in their show, and has to go now, during school. Things are escalating pretty well…
By the way, she does the come hither thing to cap it off. I would follow her too after that.
Kellen’s friend is gone too, now turned into a Clown doing a bad Jim Carrey impression. He then goes to Dr. Hysteria and is put into the show. Nicole leaves for the bathroom and Beth checks in on her, only to see she has turned into a horrible witch person.
Both transformations are amazing, by the way.
Beth tries to tell authorities. You don’t need me to say what happens. Well, they change it up a bit by having them humor them and visit the Hall of Horrors for themselves. But this is typical too, this is where they are taken the monster or whatever.
Well, they change that too as he just takes the creepy stuff aware, so that Beth looks crazy. Okay, it’s still typical. Whew!
While this is going on, Lilith takes Kellen backstage. She then shows him a portal vision, which shows him as this badass, in a weird world. As well as this:
This whole scene is amazing. It’s some weird medevil Mad Max thing with Kellen fighting Hunter. This is insane. It puts Kellen under her spell (insert Rainbow Rock song here) and he turns into a hairy werewolf.
Oh, and Lilith is Hysteria’s daughter. Eh, figures.
Back at home, Beth tells Hunter about what happened and he suggests they go back to the Hall of Horrors to prove this once and for all. It’s weird how Beth is not suspicious of him at all despite how savvy she is.
Does the movie think him being evil is an actual surprise? Because it isn’t.
They go back there and wind up backstage, where Beth has her own portal vision. It shows her in some dark world with Hunter on the light side, telling her to come over, and her friend telling her to stay.
Way less badass than the other ones.
Beth is bothered by this, but Hunter says that it;s showing them what they could be. He then makes the mistake of calling her stupid for wanting to be loyal to her friends.
“What about your lotaily to me?”
See, this is what happens when you trust a guy you barely know.
Lilith appears and reveals Hunter is her brother. Yep, figured that too. He also finally reveals himself as evil, just as shit goes real. Nicole has gone full witch and has turned a boy into a frog, and the other 2 are as equally messed up.
We have a “I know you’re in there somewhere fight’ with Kellen which works. Well, his inside is back, he still looks like a werewolf. They try to escape but up captured in time for the climax.
With all the build up, this better be good.
They are taken to the Cabinet of Souls, with all of those soulless husks. Because she’s stronger than the others (Not strong enough to tell Hunter is evil..) they offer her to join their family.
She pours water on them and they start to melt. …So much for that epic climax. The people in this place are freed a bit and now they have to escape before it’s too late. It gets decently intense as they manage to free the people of this weird cabinet prison.
And with that, the bad guys are defeated. …Well, that was lame. We didn’t even get an explanation of our where they come from or what their real deal is!
Oh, and It turns out that water was Holy Water because why not. The Hall of Horrors vanishes, and the missing girl goes to explain to her parents what happened. …Good luck with that.
“I never thought my love of churros would bring me to the gates of Hell”
Whoa, watch your language.
So our friends are back to normal, as the main friendship defeated evil. Beth says that it’s corny, and I agree.
But before we go, the main couple has to kiss. Because come on, they have to. And with a quick sequel beg, the movie ends.
Yep, another rushed ending. Not the worst, but still kind of lame. At least things wrapped up kind of okay.
…Wait, what the heck is a Monsterville?
This movie was fine. Maybe not quite as notably with it’s strengths as Haunting Hour or Mostly Ghostly, but it’s just as enjoyable. The big strength here is the atmosphere. They got the spooky mood down perfectly, and every scene involving the Hall of Horrors is awesome in some way.
There aren’t as many effects in this one which means less crappy CGI shots. The whole feel was pretty solid and this one did a good job with all that. The performances as pretty good.
I personally think Dove is better here than in Cloud 9. She’s a bit less bland and she’s fun when she’s need to be and makes her slightly different from her other roles. I hope she goes to do something very different as not to be stuck doing the same performance, though.
Everyone else is about what you would expect, but the guy playing Dr. Hysteria and Katherine stick out as the best. They are very enjoyable and the latter is quite…interesting.
The script is a mixed bag. The Horror aspects work pretty well, as there’s nice tension going on. They don’t really explain anything but it works otherwise. The other stuff is a bit weak.
While the love triangle stuff has a greater purpose, I just didn’t care for it. It felt very cliché and none of the characters stood as better than the other. There is a nice element to it, at least.
This is really more an atmosphere driven movie, because the plot isn’t anything too special. The plots in the other Stine movies stood out more. I think this, Haunting Hour, and the Mostly Ghostly ones are about equal in strengths and weakness.
All 3 boats good acting but the best of this and Mostly Ghostly win it out. This has the best atmosphere, and Haunting Hour has the best plot. When Good Ghouls Go bad wins out in all fronts, by the way.
In the end, it’s nothing amazing but it’s fun. If you just want a fun Halloween movie with a good mood , than you have it. The script needed some work and th ending is weak but the mood and acting makes up for it.
And yes, Peter Deluise shows how strong he is as a director once again. Billy and Dan need more work though.
Next time, we finally finish up Paranormal Activity in time for the true 5th to come out.