Lame horror comedy is more trick than treat
If you’re looking for a family-friendly movie to watch during the Halloween season, you are pretty much spoiled for choice. Coraline, The Witches (the original and the remake), The Addams Family 2, and Goosebumps are all worth your time if you want to treat your kids to something a little spooky. And Hubie Halloween, the Adam Sandler comedy that landed on Netflix a couple of years ago, could also be a contender for movie night if you can tolerate Sandler’s particular brand of comedy.
Then there’s The Curse of Bridge Hollow, the Marlon Wayans-starring horror comedy that recently debuted on Netflix. As it’s targeted at family audiences, you might consider this your movie of choice if you’re looking for something that both young and old can enjoy together. But is it worth your time? Or should you banish it to the lower end of your movie watchlist?
Well, sorry to say it, but The Curse of Bridge Hollow is more of a trick than a treat! With a decent cast, a promising story idea, and lots of spooky special effects to feast your eyes on, the movie might appear to tick all the boxes. But thanks to weaknesses in the writing and little in the way of comedy or scares, this can’t really be recommended unless you have exhausted every other family Halloween movie that can be found on your streaming services.
The movie follows the story of Sydney (Priah Ferguson) and her Halloween-hating dad Howard (Marlon Wayans), who are forced to deal with all manner of crazy goings-on when Sydney accidentally unleashes the curse of Stingy Jack on her new hometown of Bridge Hollow.
After lighting a lantern that release’s Jack’s spirit, the Halloween decorations around town miraculously come to life, much to the surprise of the local residents who innocently put these gruesome creations together. Zombies, killer clowns, witches, and an army of skeletal football players are just some of the horrors that are unleashed. To put an end to their existence and to the curse, Sydney and her dad must race around town looking for a way to stop the madness before midnight strikes and these spooky new inhabitants take up residence forever.
The setup is one that promises lots of mild scares and, thanks to Wayan’s comic abilities, a series of laugh-out-loud moments, but sadly, the movie disappoints on both fronts. The rampaging Halloween decorations certainly look the part but as the ghoulish set pieces that director Jeff Wadlow provides are rushed through to get to the next ‘big’ moment, there isn’t a lot of room for hilarious comedy or creepy scenes of kid-centric horror.
This isn’t to say the movie is always unamusing – there is one funny moment set inside a retirement home when an elderly resident comes face-to-face with a makeshift Grim Reaper – but there isn’t much else to tickle the funny bone within the movie’s runtime. This is a surprise when you consider the comedic talents of Wayans and his co-stars Rob Riggle and Lauren Lapkus, but thanks to the laborious and mostly unfunny script, they never get a moment to shine as comedy performers.
This is also the case for young actress Erica Sinclair who stars as Sydney in the movie. She provided some much-needed comic relief in the recent series of Stranger Things but in The Curse of Bridge Hollow, she doesn’t get many opportunities to shine due to her humourless lines of dialogue and one-note character. I’m sure she will go on to have a very successful career but to truly showcase what she can do as an actress, she needs to avoid bland movies like this one.
Still, you might not be concerned with the quality of this movie if all you want is something to keep your children entertained for a couple of hours while you busy yourself elsewhere. But be warned. While some would argue that this is inoffensive kids’ fare, it really isn’t. Not only is the script laced with the occasional expletive but it also deals with themes related to the occult, which are hardly child-friendly.
Goosebumps did the whole ‘things coming to life’ concept better as it provided a good balance of chills and laughs. It captured the spirit of RL Stine’s stories with its small-town vibe and spooky atmosphere and it was well-directed by Rob Letterman. The Curse of Bridge Hollow is like a carbon copy of that movie but without the creative flair to make it work effectively. As such, your time would be better spent on Goosebumps (or any of our other Halloween picks) instead of this lacklustre and ironically lifeless comedy.
Read More: The Curse of Bridge Hollow Ending Explained
Verdict - 5/10