Modern kids’ films thankfully cater to the adult audience who are often subjected to watching them with their charges. Ghost Squad is no different, with some witty one-liners escaping from the mouths of the 13 year old characters, but the careless script by writing team Michael Berlin, Mario Ponce and Jim Valdez is a major let down in an otherwise entertainming family adventure.
Thirteen year olds Charlie, Alex and Nick (Will Spencer, Phillip Wampler and Cade Sutton) are monster hunters of the safest order, tracking down beasts of the night that end up being cats or other safe bets. As the Elite Monster Unit, they’re the focus of school bullies who dare them to spend Hallowe’en night in the only actual haunted house of the town. This they do, with the reward being that they will be left alone if they can make it through the night.
The trio of adventurers soon discover that the bullies have littered the mansion with surprises to scare them out but, once these are uncovered, the spooky shenanigans begin to take on a more seriously scary dimension.
The kids play the clowns well and deliver some beaut physical and verbal comedy thanks to Joel Souza’s steady direction. Young audiences should get a lot of fun out of this light-hearted story, particularly with it being released on DVD in time for Hallowe’en. Older audiences will be left scratching their heads though with plot holes big enough to fill a cemetery.
Why, for example, do the heroes need to climb a fence when younger trick or treaters later just waltz up to the front door? Why too, do they need to break into the tightly sealed mansion when the bullies got in a day earlier to plant their traps? These are kinds of overlooked details that the kids won’t mind but adults will find increasingly frustrating as the film progresses.
Suited to fans of films like Goosebumps, Haunted Mansion, and Scooby Doo, if you can leave your brain behind, the comically escapist fun of Ghost Squad is an ideal family treat for All Hallows Eve.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 7
Ghost Squad is out now on DVD.