It all starts with a dance segment that could’ve used several additional rehearsals. It wasn’t ready. Some of the good guys are kind of old for a R.L. Stine movie. They’re certainly not the age of his readers, but, apparently, kids like to see protagonists that are slightly older than they are on screen. This isn’t the ultimate casting, but they’re good actors, nonetheless.
Stine delivers the scariest story possible, while keeping the violence to a bare minimum, and that’s an art form. It sums up his whole career. That being said, his books are scarier. Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls is, like all his films, a gateway to horror movies. You get more “yo mama” jokes than a thirteen-year-old can take and that, in itself, is hilarious.
This film isn’t exactly focused. It’s stereotypical and complicated. It’s not a quintessential story and the hook is underwhelming. The soundtrack is cute. The special effects are embarrassing. I’m not sure we needed all that street fighting. Considering how much the creators are trying to water down the aggressiveness, wasting it all on physical violence feels a bit gratuitous.