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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Judge it for what it is... A TV Movie

Author: jacobtlong from United States
14 April 2012

I've been a Brian Keene fan for a while and Ghoul is one of my favorite tales of horror. When I heard there would be a movie I was pretty excited, but I didn't want to get involved in a lot of the hype. As someone who happens to be a Stephen King fan, I know all about bad movie adaptations.

Well, Ghoul isn't exactly a bad movie adaptation. It's just not a true adaptation. The movie does manage to convey the spirit of the book to a certain degree when it is not being hindered by the typical downfalls of every TV movie (the shaky acting, the questionable production, the lack of violence, etc.), but the scares and thrills just aren't there.

The ultimate difference between the book and the movie is that the book is a terrifying and visceral experience. The movie starts out with possibilities of being the same, but skews off in a different direction and becomes something akin to a Lifetime movie. The ghoul that was so frightening in the book almost becomes a Scooby Doo villain in the movie.

The book is terrifying and disturbing. The movie is only slightly disturbing and not very terrifying. The atmosphere of the movie is just too tame and too sterile to warrant terror. The disturbing factor is the relationship between Doug and his mother and Barry and his father, but the book handles it much better. So what the movie had going for it is nothing that hasn't already been done better before.

But, judging the movie for what it is, I'd still say it was entertaining up to a point. A decent and watchable film, but I just didn't find it to be a very memorable movie. If you want a great growing-up adventure movie about kids then Stand By Me does a much better job. If you want a great disturbing horror movie about kids then there is always Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door.

Ghoul just doesn't have that same zing.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

NOT a horror film, but a social commentary on child abuse

1/10
Author: blacklatexfan from United States
15 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oversimplified, this film is a bad a mash up of the classic abuse of Peter Lorre's classic "M" (1933) and Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me" (featuring Wil Wheaton).

The film focuses on the small town exploration of three young boys who live in a small town where the monsters are real. Here monsters are the socially repugnant adults who use the children and weaker adults for their own devices.

The presentation of the issue of child abuse is heavy handed and obvious from the beginning where we are introduced the characters all of whom fit the obvious of the young hero films.

Unlike the old teenager training films from the 1950s and 1960s which showed the dangers of the alcohol, illegal drugs and dropping out of school that showed the targeted children in a sympathetic light, none of these boys are appreciable in this story.

Nolan Gould plays a foul mouthed egotistical leader of a band of three boys who are all the subject of abuse. He suffers from the abuse of disinterest by his well meaning though emotionally shallow parents. His father is obviously at odds with his own overly kind father. His overweight friend is the abuse of a drunken sexually frustrated mother who uses her underage son as her own personal sex toy. He retreats into overeating as a means of self protection until he finds a friend in Gould's aggressive leadership. The third boy is physically abused by the stereotypical drunk father who at the end event has his right eye bear shut by said drunk father. But he is almost as evil as his father for he almost shoots his father in the back several times with only fear of jail preventing him from pulling the trigger. He continues to allows his father to abuse his mother rather than tell the police as the entire town people knows knows about the drunk gravedigger.

You will not be able to appreciate the police who are incompetent in finding several missing children. Even in this 1980s setting they fail to get the town people to amass searches for these missing children.

I will not spoil the ending about the killer -- the so called "Ghoul" -- and its reason for doing what it does. But I will say this this is NOT a horror film. And if you are expecting a horror film you are going to be HORRIBLY disappointed.

This film is a social commentary and awareness film that presents its message "Protect the children. Do not let the children be abused" in a manner than will make most watchers of this horror film turn the channel and ignore the message for the simple fact this movie does NOT take itself seriously as a social commentary movie. It devolves into tricking the horror and gore consumers into waiting for events that the movie is actively trying to avoid -- namely the murder as in all horror and monster films.

Targeting an audience who are expecting horror/thriller when that is specifically the topic you are trying to deny is unforgivable. At least this film should have presented characters you could identify with for their plight. At most all you will hope for is these children will get adopted by people who are more mentally aware than these idiotic stereotypical adults who are far too obvious and annoying.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining - but I wish it had a bigger budget

6/10
Author: Michael_Takes from Australia
6 January 2013

The Ghoul is a good film that could have been this years Super 8 if it had a bigger budget.

I've read some of the other review and others seem to criticize the cast. I think the cast, especially the kids, did a remarkable job. It was the script that was the problem. The dialogue was stiff and stuttering. On many occasions it brought me out of the movie.

Several of the choices of the director also worked against the quality and success of the film. Showing the ghoul as a silhouette at the beginning was a great way to start, but showing the ghoul clearly within the first 20 minutes ruined any build up or suspense that would have been better served in the climax.

My final complaint is the showing of the child abuse by the mother. In horror films based on novels certain things should be omitted as they change the tone to drastically. It was done in the film adaptation of Stephen Kings IT (Child gang-bang!?).

Anyway, still a good movie.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

True Horror...

1/10
Author: tmccull52 from United States
29 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The true horror inspired by this film will be what you'll want to do to yourself after you wasted your time watching it. You'll want to claw your eyes out, scoop out your brains with a rusty trowel, and pierce your ear drums with roofing nails.

This movie isn't just bad, it's stupefyingly bad. The acting is atrocious, and the direction is even worse. Barry Corbin has a small, uncredited role in this film, and after having watched it, I am convinced that he had a clause in his contract stating that his name would not overtly be linked to or associated with this putrid waste of celluloid. If I could have given this movie anything less than one star, I would have.

To be honest, the main reason that I watched the movie was because Catherine Mary Stewart was in it. I loved her in "Night of the Comet", and "Weekend at Bernie's". After having seen her in those films, I was hugely disappointed by her performance in "Ghoul". She took cloying and maudlin to new depths.

None of the children in this movie could act in even the most remote definition of the word. Take an episode of R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps"... ANY episode.. and it would seem like the remake of "Evil Dead" or "The Conjuring" compared to "Ghoul".

I haven't yet read the novel that inspired this movie, but I am given to understand that it is a decent read. I don't know how closely the movie adaptation paralleled the book, but some of the elements of the movie were beyond any semblance of believability, particularly the closing scene between the "ghoul" and one of the child protagonists of the movie.

The story behind the "ghoul" is that the evil, drunken, abusive father of one of the three children central to the plot was the foreman over a mining crew. One of the men under his supervision asks for the day off of work because his wife doesn't feel well. Greedy for a promised bonus if some assignment is finished early, the foreman declines the miner's request, which leads to tragic consequences. The miner goes home after work, and discovers that his wife killed their twin sons, and then herself. Apparently, driven mad by his grief, the miner becomes a recluse and goes to inhabit the now abandoned mine and tunnels.

The evil, drunken, abusive father/former foreman is so wracked by guilt for what he has done to the miner's family that he helps the miner trap his victims. Here we have another clichéd horror movie plot... kill the males, kidnap the females. Gee, never seen that before.

In another review, Brielyn Sexeny is mentioned. Yes, she is attractive, but her big scene in the movie is when she goes berserk and gets into a mixed martial arts brawl with the clothes on her backyard clothesline.

By the way, Brielyn Sexeny's character kills more people in the movie than the ghoul does.

If you haven't seen this movie... DON'T. It really is that bad.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Film About Child Abue Disguised as a Horror Movie

5/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
27 January 2013

Centers on a group of friends who risk their lives to stop who, or what, is behind a rash of disappearances in their town.

This film has the best of intentions, but never seems to hit the marks it is aiming for. I have not read the source novel (maybe I should), but what we have here is a case of children who cannot act and a plot that is too convoluted.

On the surface, it is about a group of kids who explore the woods and find tunnels under the cemetery that go to an abandoned mining tunnel. Legend has it that a "ghoul" lives in the mines. This in itself makes a good horror story, and by using kids you can have a bit more fun like you would with "Goonies" or "Monster Squad".

Instead, there is a whole other story here about child abuse and alcoholism, and a strong hint of sexual molestation. Does it tie in to the other story? No. Not at all. And while it might be said to be character development, it is never focused on and adds nothing to the film overall. In fact, it detracts, because it seems like the people who make the film do not understand how a story arc works.

If this movie was made with a new cast and a tighter script, I could actually see it being a good -- possibly great -- little picture.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Left too many open ends

3/10
Author: Valtresca from United States
13 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This started off as a good movie. Set in the eighties I thought it would be like all the other cheesy movies, maybe kind of like Goonies but instead I got a lot of different directions this movie could go in and not one of them resolved.

First they introduced child molestation and then domestic violence and alcoholism. All of these scenes were more intense and in fact scarier than any of the scenes involving "the Ghoul" which I'm still not quite sure existed.

At the end of the movie the three children escape the mine shaft where the ghoul has been killing people with the help of one of the children's father that works at the cemetery. This man has been helping the ghoul by letting him have his way with whoever happens to be unfortunate enough to enter the old mine that is located under the cemetery. Does that make sense in the first please. Well anyways in a scene while drunk off his keester he yells down the mine shaft, to the ghoul, that he's not going to do it anymore that what he (the ghoul) gives him is not enough. Later the kids stumble upon a box near the shaft that has a lot of jewelry that used to belonged to the deceased buried at the cemetery. Was this his pay and if so couldn't have the child's father taken the deceased valuable possessions without the help of the ghoul which lives underground and as we find out later maybe cannot live in the sunlight so he stays underground.

However none of that was as important to me as the issues surrounding the physical and sexual abuse of two of the children that were never resolved. I'm sure the directors or writers probably had some scenes in there that eluded to something or nother, a line that was said that wrapped up those aspects of the movie but it was just not enough for me to be satisfied. I gave this movie 3 stars because it did have potential but too many elements were left unresolved.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Couldn't get past the "shower scene", not cool if kids/people with morals are around.

1/10
Author: nposluszny
22 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I rented this, expecting a movie that would pay tribute to The Goonies, Saturday the 14th, Monster Squad, etc. Boy, I was wrong. I was watching this movie with my father when the shower scene/pedophilia scene with Mommy came on. The movie was quickly turned off, and deemed as a "bait and switch" by my family, who were all expecting what I was, an adolescent monster/adventure movie. This will certainly be the last time I rent a movie for the "family movie night" before reading all the reviews. There was no clear hint (or subtle) that there was an indecent mother/son relationship going on. The remainder of the evening was spend wondering where I went wrong while explaining to my little brother that what he saw on the screen was not normal at all. The cover of the movie, as well as the Redbox description, are grossly misleading and whoever made it so appealing to children, adults, regular human beings should be ashamed.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not a bad film...

7/10
Author: rivalclepto from United States
13 January 2013

Not a bad film, good acting and make-up, good story line. Not sure why others have to group this film as 'stand by me' wanna-be film, it's not, although it does have kids as the lead and they do find a dead body, but its not in the same context as stand by me.I agree it's not really a horror movie, but then again there are parts that might make you jump.

I like the way they told this tale and if it has to involve certain scenes that others call distasteful and they resort to calling a liker of the film a "tumble weed of trash", they sound rather prudish. This is the world we live in, there are evil (wo)man out there and this film is entertaining.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Brian Keene's beloved horror novel "Ghoul" gets an unsatisfying adaptation for the small screen

5/10
Author: ersinkdotcom from United States
25 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As I read the synopsis for "Ghoul," my expectations for a great film that would make me feel nostalgic about my childhood love for monster and action movies began to build up. High expectations aren't always a good thing when going into a film. Unfortunately, that was the case here. I wanted to like it, but something got lost along the way.

Timmy, Doug, and Barry are the best of friends. As if life for three 12- year old boys at the edge of puberty isn't hard enough, things get very tough when they are forced by circumstances to confront the urban legend of a creature which lives underneath their local cemetery. Are there supernatural forces at work or are the disappearances of several local teenagers tied to someone in the town with unknown motives?

I have to hand it to director Gregory M. Wilson and writer William M. Miller. This was made as a low-budget TV-movie for Chiller TV. As far as that goes, it looks great. The creature makeup is genuinely creepy and the sets look good.

They never quite convinced me that I was watching something happening in 1984. The lack of a soundtrack effectively reflecting the era and misplaced pop-culture references were definite hindrances in the process. It didn't help when characters exclaimed, "Eat my shorts" and "Don't have a cow!" These two catchphrases were coined by Bart Simpson in "The Simpsons," which didn't even gain real popularity until late 1989.

"Ghoul" boasts at least two veteran actors which are familiar to children of the 1980s. Barry Corbin portrays Timmy's grandfather. He was a supporting actor in several movies and TV shows from the decade like "WarGames," "Dallas," and "Critters 2." I'm sure tons of boys who were teenagers at the time will identify with my crush on Catherine Mary Stewart. I was captivated by her in such films as "The Last Starfighter," "Weekend at Bernie's," and "Night of the Comet." She plays Timmy's mother and adds a bit more legitimacy to the movie.

One thing that gave me a sense of appreciation for "Ghoul" was the Behind-the-Scenes featurette. It did a great job of highlighting the hard work and conviction poured into the movie. It's hard to completely hate on something that someone put so much effort into. I have a deep respect for the set builders and makeup artists.

"Ghoul" tries very hard to capture the magic of films like "Super 8," "The Goonies," and "The Monster Squad." It's a shame it didn't accomplish what it set out to do successfully. Viewers who aren't looking for a walk down memory lane may enjoy this, but filmmakers missed their target market in my opinion.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

stay away please stay away

1/10
Author: brian carey
12 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was maybe one of the most disappointing pieces of garbage I have ever seen. I was hoping for a movie with the feel of Monster Squad, but sadly I did not. Instead this movie was about as comfortable as the scene from Sleepers when Kevin Bacon asks for a "Blow Job". With that said the opening credits and first 5 minutes of the movie were the best part other than the closing credits(mainly because I was thankful it was over). Now you may like this movie if you enjoy the following list of travesties that happen. 1. Dead Grandfather (its more comical than sad,but I think it was supposed to be sad) 2. Child Abuse 3. Suicide 4. Drowning Babies 5. The Murdering of Children.

So if you like these things than this tumble weed of trash is right up your alley you creep.

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