Mostly Ghostly 3 is property of Universal.
Hello, Spongey here.
Well, my friends, it’s a few days into October. Just because I’m not doing weekly reviews anymore doesn’t mean I’m missing on my holidays! Infact, each October and December, I’ll be doing about 3 reviews for the season.
They won’t be weekly, they just be about 3 reviews at random points in the month, with the final being on the holiday itself. And what better way to start the official Holiday reviews than with more RL Stine junk!?
More specifically, we have our next Mostly Ghostly movie. That’s right, there’s already a new one, and it came out last month, making this our first live action 2016 review. I might do more, I know I have my eye on Nine Lives..
In 2013 I reviewed 2008’s Mostly Ghostly, based on the Stine book. I did read the book series at one point but it was long ago and I barely remember them enough to compare. The movie was fun with some good acting a fun feel, with a passable story.
Then a mere 6 years later came the 2014 sequel, where most of the cast replaced because most of the actors got too old. When you look past the cast changes, it was still fine with some good replacements and nice moments, even if it wasn’t as fun as the first one.
When they announced a third one, I wasn’t too shocked. They were trying to make up for lost time and with this new cast, they’d get the franchise back on track. …This is not quite what happened.
I was skeptical when it was announced they were changing the cast AGAIN, this time even no one from the first film on board. Seriously. One of the bigger issues in the 2nd was that it took awhile to get to the new cast, and some choices were a bit jarring.
I figured they’d kept the new cast and perfect their portrayals of the characters to give a more solid sequel. But nope, let’s go through this all over again. Ah well, I could look past the cast of the previous film, so I can do it here.
But I am sick of it. Again, I watched the film before reviewing it, so hopefully this review turns out better than the previous one. We now have no crew people from the first one, but we have an interesting choice for out writer/director: Ron Oliver.
He was a frequent director for the Goosebumps show, and he also did other kid shows from that era like Are you afraid of the dark. He did the better episodes of the shows, and is pretty cool.
Getting him back to Stine media is awesome, and was the main reason I was hyped for this. Was the hype worth it? Is this the best film in the series or the worst? Time to find out.
This is, Mostly Ghostly: One Night In Doom House
After the opening credits, the movie opens with Phears visiting his boss, that he inexplicably has now. His boss is played by Danny Trejo. Don’t get too excited, he’s completely wasted in this. Seriously.
He’s mad at Phears for failing to do his evil stuff.
“You’re telling me two completely inexperienced ghosts are the only thing standing in your way?’
When you say it like that, it sounds silly. This entire bit exists for clumsy exposition on who the characters are.
“My sources tell me he’s a lonely awkward kid with no friends”
…Wow, that’s just…bad.
“He’s popular now, he’s even won the heart of Cammie”
Yep, they’re keeping the love interest from the previous film and now they have hooked up. They had some romance so eh sure, they’re together, why not. Danny Trejo would usually fire him but Phears’ Mom is his sister so he kind of has to give him another chance.
“Thanks Uncle Morgo”
“Don’t call me that”
Okay, that’s funny. Phears in general is still enjoyable here, even if I miss Arwin. With that, we cut to Max, now played by Farkle. This is one of the better choices as he fits the character as written.
But since putting him with Bella Thorne would look awkward, and even she has better things to go, Camme is now the female friend from Gamer’s Guide. Eh, not sure if she’s believable as the super popular girl but okay.
We see them practicing dance stuff, cuz they are into that now. They need to make money to go regional or whatever, so Max sets up a seemingly fake Seance type thing at his house, which people are willingly to pay for, because reasons.
Of course, Nicky and Tara are helping out. They are played by Tyler from Dog with a Blog and this person:
A dead ringer for Madison Petis, eh? Both actors not only look nothing like either original, they look way too old be 12 year olds, which Nick and Tara were. Ghosts age pretty fast, I must say.
Anyway, they point out that they haven’t had much time to look for their parents. They were able to contact them at the end at the last movie, so they must be really lazy if they haven’t found them by now.
Depending how long this is since the last film. The 2nd one was a year later but we don’t know if that’s the case here.
“Ever since you and Cammie started going out together…it seems like we’re never gonna find them”
Oh boy, girlfriend getting in the way of other stuff. At bet better than Tara randomly being jealous in the 2nd movie…but just like that plot, this goes nowhere. Heck, even in this scene they just cut to the next scene, not showing Max’s rebuttal or something.
Max starts his little trick and it works on them.
“Wait, if there really are such things as ghost, why do waste their time floating candles around the room?”
This guy would be great at Cinema Sins.
The table starts shaking but Nicky and Tara aren’t doing it. Nope, it’s..
Oh yeah, that houseworker chick from the first movie. Cool that she’s back…but instead an older woman, she’s a young-ish…french maid. Huh?
…You’ve met here before.
“She’s our housekeeper”
….Wait…no…you’ve gotta be kidding me. We’re not only rehashing an element…we’re rehashing an entire element point for point and the charterers just forgot it happened? They went through this before, meeting a Housekeeper name Lulu. If it were a different name that would be one thing, but it’s the same name!
The writers could not be this lazy and or incompetent! How does this happen?
Lulu informs them that their parents are not dead, even though they already know this from the last movie. They are in the Elsewhere, which is pretty much Purgatory.
Lulu then leaves, never to show up again. So they lazily rehashed something for the sake of exposition, some of which they should already know!
Everyone leaves and we meet Max’s parents again. Remember how in the first one, the Dad was played by David Deluise, the Dad from Wizards? Here he’s played by that actor’s brother, Peter Deluise.
If that name sounds familiar, that’s because you better him as a director, doing works as such RL Stine’s Monstville, a bunch of Haunting Hour Episodes, and 16 wishes. Yes. Weird to see him as an actor, and his real life wife plays the Mom here.
Anyway, the other kids left since talking to people they can’t say makes Max look a bit crazy. Cammie gets pissed causing a contrived rift between them. More on that in a tiny bit.
After a pointless scene with Phears, Max talks to Cammie the next day. Told you it would be a tiny bit. She says they need to “take a break’. Yep, one bad situation and they need a break. Because all know how much I love pointless romance crap in movies!
“We’re prefer together, even our names our perfect together. Camme and Max, sounds like the tittle of a really great TV Show”
So we get a boring moping scene, complete with pop song which is so short it may as well not be here. He goes home to find out that they are renovating the house so they can sell it. This is interesting since Nicky and Tara kind of lived here and are bound to, making it less cliché than it could have been. More on this in a bit though.
He talks to Nicky and Tara about this and they basically say what I said, adding that they literally can’t leave the place. Then a ghost hunting conveniently comes on to drive the plot further.
It’s hosted by Simon Drake who is advertising his next episode, set in a local haunted house.
“Join me Simon Drake for One Night in Doom House!”
“Why do they always to make ghosts so creepy and horrible? We’re not all Ax Murderers”
I’m not sorry.
On a minor note, the credits of Simon’s show are the same as the end credits of the movie. Is that clever or lazy? I don’t know.
Max thinks they could use help from a professional like Simon Drake. Because all TV Ghost Hunters are legit, as we all know. Max goes to Doom House to visit him, hoping he’s there at that exact moment gearing up for the show later that week.
He is, but we have go through a long scene of the house seemingly being empty so we can get cheap fake out scares. It doesn’t make sense, Max keeps calling out and no one answers, and when Simon pops up his assistant says they heard him at the moment. Did they somehow arrive after he went in, and if so, how did Max not hear them?
Max tells him what is going on and at one point he says the word Crap twice. Weird to hear a that in a Stine product that’s otherwise pretty kiddie. Anyway, Simon unsurprisingly is a fraud and doesn’t believe Max, and can’t help him.
“It’s real enough to be the number one ghost realty show on TV”
I imagine there’s not much competition.
Now Max is back at Step Zero. Simon does have a point later on, don’t worry. Speaking of things having a point, you know that interesting plot point of Nick and Tara maybe being without Max?
Doesn’t amount to anything. There’s some gags with them trying to stop them from renovating, but that’s it. They never milk it for any kind of drama after this. As you can tell, the script for this movie is very solid.
After such a scene of them trying to stop the renovations, it’s back to the romantic drama you all came to see. Honestly, it’s hard to care about their romantics lives when they are like 14 and look a tad younger than that.
Doesn’t help that they introduce this new asshole friend she has, to tease as love triangle that never happens.
Meanwhile, Phears needs a body to take over in order to do his job and he picks Simon Drake. Told you he had a point. Took too long for Phears to become important again though.
Max arrives home and tells his ghost pals what happened. But they just drop it right away, as we move on to Max discovering a trinket hidden in the walls of the house. He doesn’t find this suspicious at all despite what his life is like.
He decides to give the mysterious trinket hidden in the walls of house to Cammie. Yes, he really is that stupid. This becomes a plot point and things go south for him and he only has himself to blame.
Phears as Simon Drake drops by Max’s house and Mom lets him in because she’s a fangirl. And the scene ends as soon as it begins. Okay then. Max gives Cammie the odd trinket and she likes it. This makes her start to re-think the break.
And we’re back to Phears. Please stop having such short scenes, I’m having flashbacks to the start of this blog which I bitched about that kind of thing a lot. Phears finds out about the trinket and of course it’s something he wants.
So Max’s stupidity only happened so the black Crystal could be away from Phears. Lame.
Max comes home to see that Phears froze time in the house, for some reason. Nicky and Tara pop, having see what happened, yet didn’t show up in that scene. They explain to Max what happened and now they have to get Crystal back from Cammie. I wil never get wrong how dumb and contrived this is.
Because Mom told a man who doesn’t know personally where her son’s girlfriend is, Phears goes to the school to get the crystal.
“I’m looking for a cute 16 year old girl, do you know where she is?”
There’s the dance competition going on so Max must get on stage with her to talk to her, because waiting if for chumps. And also the movie needs more padding. After the dance, Max asks her for the crystal, but she doesn’t have it because she gave it to a friend to make into a bracelet.
Eh, I’ll buy it, for now.
She wonders why he needs it, and he tells the whole truth. Unsurprisingly his ghost story doesn’t impress her, so she fully breaks up with him. Well, that whole bit of him giving something nice to her is now completely pointless.
She runs off before he can comment so Max just runs off to visit Cammie’s friend. She isn’t here but her brother is and he allows him to look in her room. Before I can comment, she pops up like a second later. Once again, someone entering a house does not make any noise for some reason.
Although that’s not as odd as her having no reaction to him randomly being in her room. She’s almost…happy.
“You know Max, I heard about you and Cammie, and how you’re on a bit of a break. If you ever want to watch a movie or get ice cream, or just need a shoulder to cry on…”
The TV conveniently turns and it shows Phears, as Simon, saying he has Nicky and Tara. He even shows them, which is odd because they can’t be seen by mortals normally, so he now looks crazy on notional TV and if people can see them, authorizes may see it and want to dissect the ghosts or something.
Max takes the crystal and leaves to get his friends back .But on the way, Max bumps into Aaron who attacks him because he’s just that petty. Phears shows up and turns him into a pig, which is the last we see of Aaron in the actual plot. Glad he had a point!
Max runs inside to get his friends, and Phears asks for the crystal in exchange for their freedom. Then we finally find out what the Crystal is: His life pod. See, Nicky and Tara’s parents captured Phear and pals, and put them in these ball things.
Phears escaped and swore to free his baddie friends but can’t because his pod thing needs to be in the crystal tree thing for him to take form in the mortal world. That is not how he escaped as they explained in the previous film.
For one, he turned into a normal body without possessing anyone in the first film, with no problem. Then the 2nd film went into this backstory and none of this factored into it.
Max gives him the crystal, but don’t worry, it’s a fake. I figured that out on first viewing because it’s that predictable. Speaking of predictable, Phears goes back on his word cuz he’s evil. Max’s fake crystal causes his plans to go bust and the ghost tree to blow up.
Max runs and bumps into Cammie. Don’t worry, it’s Phears in disguise. Thankfully, Max figures it out right away. Phears attacks him and suddenly, Max wakes up in a white void aka the Elsewhere aka Purgatory.
As such he finds Nicky and Tara’s parents. They explain that Doom House used to be their lab so they made up the story of it being haunted so no one would see their ghost experiments. Phears sent here. The last part checks out but the rest is still an ass pull.
Anyway, the parents can’t leave until the most evil ghost of them all is sent to the other side for good. Thus, Max smashes the crystal hoping to do just that. This works and Max is sent back to the real world.
Kind of a lame climax but whatever, at least we’re one step closer in getting the parents back . The house starts falling apart but the real Cammie conveniently shows up to save Max.
Unfortunately, Nick and Tara seem to be gone. Well, that sucks. At least it finally gives us some good emotion in this movie. Oh, and Max and Cammie get back together, in case you cared about this cliché and dumb plot line.
And if you’re wonder, real Simon break his mind over seeing this stuff, and Aaron woke up naked beside a church and was arrested. Yay?
Max arrives home and his parents don’t question where he was all night. Oh, and they aren’t selling the house. Glad that plot line was totally pointless and lead to nothing.
Also, on the news, they interview Cammie’s friend and she is asked how she felt seeing a naked Aaron outside her window. She is smiling when asked this.
Max goes to his room to see that Nicky and Tara are alive. ..Uh, I mean they still exist. Max tells them what happened. But wait, they said they would be free if the most evil ghost is gone. So where are they?
Well, Max asks this too./
“That means there’s something else out there”
“Yeah, but who?”
Evil Danny Trejo laughs. Roll credits. Yep, abrupt ending with a cliffhanger to boot. I’d be mad, but honestly this makes interested in seeing 4th one, as we’d have a new villain and finally a fresh story.
But after this one, I’m not sure if it’s worth it..
As you can tell, I didn’t care for this one, sadly. It’s not bad, but very underwhelming. There’s two big problems, the first being the writing. When you get down it, most of it is pointless or poorly written.
The main story with Phears is too basic and has nothing to until the very end. They do nothing to fill up the story. There’s the romance, which I don’t care about because they aren’t set up well enough here and it’s done in a way where I don’t care. And it’s quite rushed in the end.
There’s Max moving but it goes nowhere. There’s no emotional stakes here outside of the dumb romance. A simple plot is fine but the first film, and even the sequel, still had other things going on.
This leads us to the other problem: It feels kind of watered down. What made the first film work was the charm. It had a snarky sense of humor, and the actors were allowed to all out. That and the tone gave the film it’s edge.
There’s no edge here. There’s little humor that stands out, and the actors, while fine, aren’t given much to do. Even Phears is wasted since most the time he’s in a body played by a lesser actor.
Plus, the characters themselves aren’t developed too much. Especially Nicky and Tara, who do very little for the most part. The film just feels half heatrted. There’s effort but it’s not as fun as before. (Oh and wasting Danny Trejo is inexcusable)
Also ,there’s too many examples of the plot moving because the characters act like morons.
To be fair, there’s nothing offensive here. Some of the acting is good, there’s some okay moments, and it’s rarely hugely annoying or boring. It’s biggest crime is not being interesting enough.
But overall, this was just very….eh. At this point, they should just stop. If they wanna make a new one, I have two requests. One is go with the ending and bring Trejo back. By the same task, KEEP THE CAST THIS TIME.
Otherwise, just pack in. Because it’s clear they aren’t trying quite as hard at this point. Ah well.
Hopefully our next film will be less dumb.
…So much for that.
(FILM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE)