Part 4 of my 13 Ghost Movies of Halloween!
- Directed by Brad Silberling
- Starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Malachi Pearson
- Written by Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver
- Family, Comedy
- Rated PG
- 1hr 40mins
- 26 May 1995
A woman inherits a condemned property from her father and when it turns out to be haunted, she seeks out Dr. Harvey, an infamous ‘ghost therapist’, who helps the ‘living impaired’ settle their unfinished business and cross over to the other side. When he and his daughter, Kat, arrive at Whipstaff Manner, they encounter the ghost of a little boy, Casper, and his three disgusting uncles who are haunting the mansion.
How’s the Story?
This has always been just a good story. There’s so much feeling and depth into it and yet it’s still so fun and mostly lighthearted. The loner child and her father who is clearly still somewhat scarred by the loss of his wife is something pretty bleak for a family movie, but something that is understandable. The story of Casper’s death and his father’s life’s work to try and resurrect his son is something so moving and emotional. Up against those serious stories, there’s still so much comedy and lighthearted fun in this movie, and it’s just really well done. It’s the kind of story that you know was really thought out to achieve such a balance of sadness and fun.
How’s the Acting?
The acting is pretty standard. There’s nothing terrible and nothing crazy outstanding in this one. I would say that Christina Ricci as Kat is easily the best actor in this one, but it’s Christina Ricci, as a child actress, she was so great always and continues to be so today.
How’s the Writing/Directing?
I love the writing in this movie. There are so many little moments that are just so special. There’s a reason this is one of my favorite movies of all times. I love to hate Carrigan. She’s such a fun baddie. Some of her scenes are just so much fun. Also, like I talked about in the story, the way they manage to make you cry watching a family movie like this one is just really good. The part where she asks Casper if her mom will forget her the way he’s forgotten his life is something so delicately balanced, and that small moment balances out with the scene where her dad gets ghosted and does forget her for a moment, and it just makes your heart ache for this kid. Add in the scene where her mother’s angel or whatever comes down to visit the dad and give a final goodbye, and this is one that really tugs at your heartstrings. It’s just really, really well written.
How’s the Cinematography?
The way that they managed to use the space in these scenes is just brilliant. The choices were nearly limitless when it came to camera work and yet they all make so much sense. There’s just a lot of great things going on in this film visually and it all works pretty well.
Is It Worth Watching?
Absolutely. Whether you’re a kid, have kids, or just are an adult with nothing better to do than relive your childhood and cry over all the emotions you didn’t quite get as a kid, this is just a solid Halloween movie. It’s a staple. The fact this wasn’t on TV anywhere this month (at least on my TV service) is really mind boggling. I own it, so it’s no biggie, but still. I’m just… appalled. There are certain Halloween movies you can’t do October without, and this is one of them.
My Rating: 8/10