×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Girl vs. Monster

The pic is akin to a good piece of Halloween candy that's sugary sweet on the outside but has a chewy surprise in the middle.

With:
Skylar Lewis - Olivia Holt
Henry - Brendan Meyer
Sadie - Kerris Dorsey
Myra Santelli - Katherine McNamara
Ryan Dean - Luke Benward
Julie - Jennifer Aspen
Chet - Donald Heng
Steve Lewis - Brian Palermo
Deimata - Tracy Dawson
Cobb - Adam Chambers

Girl vs. Monster,” a new original movie for Disney Channel, is everything you would expect from the House of Mouse. It’s slick and polished, not too scary, and peppered with toe-tapping tunes. Star Olivia Holt even looks like Britney Spears, Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus rolled into one. Still, the pic is akin to a good piece of Halloween candy that’s sugary sweet on the outside but has a chewy surprise in the middle.

Writers Annie DeYoung and Ron McGee present a timely analogy about the fear and loathing of teen years set amid a monster-busting theme. Even while acting grown up, chances are most kids are still afraid of the dark, and notions of facing their fears as well as those who exploit them make for a nice tie-in to both Halloween and National Bullying Prevention Month.

Skylar (Holt) is about to turn 16, and will inherit the family business. What she doesn’t know is that it’s the monster-hunting business. Her parents, who pose as mold-fighting scientists, want to protect her from the truth for as long as possible. Halloween is their busiest night, but Skylar, not understanding the risks, would rather sneak out to a party than stay safely at home. To effect her escape, she disarms the house alarm by turning off the power — and inadvertently lets loose a horde of monsters.

As Skylar and her pals Sadie (Kerris Dorsey) and Henry (Brendan Meyer) quickly learn, fear feeds the monsters. And a house full of teenagers ripe with self-doubt is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. While the monsters have a lot of work to do considering kids today are jaded and harder to scare — even vampires are considered cool — as any good monster knows, targeting loved ones is always a good weak spot.

Girl vs. Monster” has the trappings of a typical teen story, including mean girls, cute guys and a fabulously outfitted party. Choreographer Paul Becker includes some genuinely fun dance numbers, and Holt gets to showcase three songs.

Viewers can’t help but note shades of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Ghostbusters” throughout the film. Director Stuart Gillard emphasizes not super powers but just plain courage — whether against a bully, in the face of a school presentation, or in front of an ancient monster. As far as the scares go, “Girl vs. Monster” is a tame initiation into the supernatural. Gillard utilizes a bit of the jerky fast-forward movement popularized in “The Ring” that would give anybody the creeps, and there are enough perilous situations to upset younger audiences.

Despite being geared to tweens, though, the movie might be most frightening to parents — albeit by the prospect of a future ripe with skinny jeans and boy bands.

Girl vs. Monster

Movie; Disney Channel, Friday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by Bad Angels Prods.. Executive producer, Sheri Singer; producer, Tracey Jeffrey; director, Stuart Gillard; writers, Annie DeYoung, Ron McGee;

Crew: Camera, Thomas Burstyn; editor, James R. Symons; music, Robert Duncan; casting, Sally Stiner, Barbie Block, Stuart Aikins, Sean Cossey. 90 MIN.

Cast: Skylar Lewis - Olivia Holt
Henry - Brendan Meyer
Sadie - Kerris Dorsey
Myra Santelli - Katherine McNamara
Ryan Dean - Luke Benward
Julie - Jennifer Aspen
Chet - Donald Heng
Steve Lewis - Brian Palermo
Deimata - Tracy Dawson
Cobb - Adam Chambers

More TV

  • daredevil Marvel Netflix

    Marvel to Shutter Television Division

    Marvel’s television division is officially winding down. Variety has learned that Marvel Television will no longer be developing any new series beyond the shows that are currently in production. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Marvel will eliminate a number of positions in the near future as a result of the cessation [...]

  • Kaya Scodelario

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Spinning Out' With 'Skins' Star Kaya Scodelario Gets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Spinning Out,” and USA reveals a first look at Ethan Hawke’s return to “The Purge” universe.  DATES Netflix‘s “Spinning Out,“ starring “Skins’s” Kaya Scodelario and from showrunners Lara Olsen (“Reign”) and Samantha Stratton, premieres Jan. 1. The series follows Scodelario’s Kat, a high-level figure skater [...]

  • Philip MckeonPhilip Mckeon

    'Alice' Child Star Philip McKeon Dies at 55

    Philip McKeon, known for playing the son of Linda Lavin’s titular character in the classic CBS sitcom “Alice,” has died. He was 55. The actor died Tuesday morning in Texas following a longtime illness, family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed to Variety. “We are all beyond heartbroken and devasted over Phil’s passing,” said Ballard. “His wonderful [...]

  • Vanna White

    Vanna White Hosts 'Wheel of Fortune' for the First Time in 37 Years

    Vanna White, who’s been a staple on “Wheel of Fortune” for almost 40 years, stepped in to host the long-running game show for the first time, as host Pat Sajak underwent emergency surgery. “Tonight’s my first night of hosting Wheel! I’m excited and nervous! Stay tuned!” White tweeted on Monday The episodes, which were filmed [...]

  • Britt McHenry

    Fox News Sued by Streaming Host Britt McHenry, Who Alleges Harassment

    Britt McHenry, a host for Fox News’ Fox Nation streaming-video outlet, filed suit against the network and its corporate parent Tuesday, alleging she has been denied opportunities at the company after reporting claims she was harassed sexually by a former co-host, George Murdoch, who is also known as Tyrus. McHenry’s suit, filed in U.S. District [...]

  • Mnelik-Belilgne

    Fox to Develop Comedy 'Kidless' From 'Single Parents' Writer

    A single-camera comedy titled “Kidless” is currently in the works at Fox. The project hails from writer and co-executive producer Mnelik Belilgne and executive producer Jamie Tarses. Belilgne is currently a writer and co-executive producer on the ABC comedy “Single Parents.” He and Tarses previously worked together on the YouTube original comedy series “Champaign ILL” [...]

  • ET Live

    ET Online, ET Live Merge Staff, Resulting in Layoffs (EXCLUSIVE)

    UPDATED: On-air ET Live hosts Tanner Thomason and Jason Carter have been let go as part of the greater layoffs, according to a source, while host Melicia Johnson has accepted a new role within ET digital. Entertainment website ET Online and live-streaming network ET Live, the digital extensions of CBS’ daily newsmagazine “Entertainment Tonight,” are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content