The Curse of Bridge Hollow Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Crazy set decorations with amazing effects, but a shallow story that won’t stick with you after a couple of hours. Wayans’ latest flick is a light, dull introduction to horror!
Genre: Adventure / Comedy / Horror
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Marlon Wayans, Priah Ferguson, Kelly Rowland, Abi Monterey, Myles Perez, Holly J. Barrett, Lauren Lapkus, John Michael Higgins & Rob Riggle.
Run Time: 89 min.
US Release: 14 October 2022 (Netflix)
UK Release: 14 October 2022 (Netflix)
German Release: 14 October 2022 (Netflix)
The Halloween season does not always need to be about bloody violent slasher flicks or the paranormal frights of ghostly featurettes. Sometimes it's enough to enjoy a spooky family adventure, like the Goosebumps movie from 2015, which included mild scares for children plus adults alike. This new Netflix production, directed by Jeff Wadlow, promised a similar style of story, and while there are definitely some R. L. Stine influences at work, it never reaches the cosy entertaining atmosphere of the latter.
Having moved to a new town, a teenage girl is forced to team up with her reluctant father, after accidentally releasing an ancient and mischievous spirit on Halloween night, who causes decorations to come alive, wreaking havoc in their new home!
The screenplay is atrocious! Todd Berger, who developed the story and co-wrote the script, did put as little effort as possible, trying to come up with a disposable adventure-comedy for the spooky season. He succeeded in that because I just watched it yesterday and am already forgetting the film's plot. What was most enraging, is the superficial storytelling that does not even attempt at creating an engaging father-daughter dynamic.
The narrative contains barely any character development, fast-forwarding through the whole introductory segment. It is riddled with plot holes, as references are made to interactions or conversations that audiences never experienced. Without any backgrounds that would have fleshed-out characters, everyone including the lead personas, feel like tropes rather than human beings. The humour doesn’t stick the landing at all, falling completely flat! Finally, the whole tale is foreshadowed five minutes into its runtime! It holds no surprises at all!
That said, it doesn't waste time, but goes straight for the spooky adventure, since it's only an hour and thirty minutes long. It also has some effectively scary scenes, referencing a few trashy horror flicks from the 90s. The scary segments could be arguably too much for little children though. Parents should maybe check it out before sitting down with their 6-year-olds.
The line delivery sounds mostly unnaturally wooden, with none of the jokes working. It became especially irritating when Wayans' character kept repeating a line several times over, throughout the entire runtime. If it wasn’t funny the first time, it would not suddenly become funny by the fifth time!
As far as characters go; as I stated before none of them are well-written or developed. Most just serve the plot, to represent a specific quirk or cliché, without an emotional hook. The adults of Bridge Hollow, also seem to be extremely oblivious or straight-out dumb, as they don’t perceive the living Halloween decorations as a threat, instead thinking they are practical jokes.
Marlon Wayans plays Howard Gordon, a science teacher as well as the father of Sydney and husband to Emily Gordon. Howard is not really into All Hallow’s Eve, nor anything that isn’t science for that matter. In fact, he repeats the word “science” so often, it begins to lose its meaning. He is also a weak, pushover, being outdone by his daughter. Talking about his daughter, he aggressive controls every aspect of her life. It is no wonder that she is pushing him away! Then there is the language he uses, which mostly contains racial stereotypes.
Priah Ferguson, of Stranger Things fame, portrays Sydney the same way she plays the character of Erica in the series. The issue is, what makes her likeable in Stranger Things, does not work here. Sidney is annoying, rude and ungrateful. Simply put she is an obnoxious teenager. Ferguson’s chemistry with Wayans is non-existent, talking down on him every opportunity she gets. While it is partially understandable, because of her father’s issue to control everything, it is no excuse to treat him like that.
Kelly Rowland as Emily, Howard's wife plus mother of Sydney, was literally written to represent the cliché of the health-nutrition infatuated mom. Rowland doesn’t do much, except looking gorgeous while smiling pretty, which she really does well!
The cinematography isn’t too shabby, actually using good framing, cuts and pans to build up visual suspense. The colour palette contains strong fall-like colours, as well as some stronger neon lighting, for some of the attractions. The lighting is also well-handled, especially during darker scenes!
The set design is magnificent, suiting the time of year with the streets of the comfy New England town, riddled with autumn-cloured leaves. The effects, practical or visual, are also of high quality, most impressive are the costume designs for the set decorations once they come to life, as it is those that create effective scares.
The music was composed by Christopher Lennertz, who created a good, spooky, mystical melody for this Halloween-themed feature. It fits well with the type of film this represents.
Verdict: Netflix’s newest Halloween movie, is nothing more than a cheap attempt to increase its viewership during the spooky season. The plot is shallow, with a rushed introduction, leading to a string of heavy exposition dumps, as the focus lies more in creating a fun, Goosebumps-like series of family-friendly frights. Characters feel like cinematic tropes, representing as many suburban clichés as possible. The dialogues are unfunny, using mostly racial jokes. The line delivery sounds wooden, while the actors do a subpar job. Especially the two leads, Marlon Wayans and Priah Ferguson, are extremely annoying. The redeeming aspects are the cinematography, set design as well as special effects, which look fantastic, and have a massive effect on the scare factor! For those reasons alone, I will grant The Curse of Bridge Hollows a 3.0 out of 10.
Did you stream the movie yet? If not, forget about it! Go watch with your children Hocus Pocus or Goosebumps! Thank you for reading & please subscribe if you like the content!