Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014)

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“Have you Met My Ghoulfriend?” comes off like it’s the fourth film in a movie series, when it seems to only have come after the somewhat bland “Mostly Ghostly” from 2008. Only Madison Pettis comes back for the follow-up, which involves a pair of ghostly teenagers, their human friend with a ghoul fighting ring, and an evil ghoul named Phears intent on consuming their souls, or possessing them, or–something to that effect.

Ryan Ochoa plays Max, the inadvertent hero of the film whose magical ring protects him from ghouls and possession. He’s friends with Tara and Nicky, a brother and sister ghost duo that help Max fight monsters while also looking for their parents. During Halloween the ghoul Phears rises from his cemetery prison and is intent on taking Max’s ring from him. He plans to do this by awakening the ghost of a female acrobat so she can make Max looks bad and compel him to give Phears the ring back. I’m not sure why Max takes the ring off at all, but that’s the basic premise. For all intents and purposes, the movie packs in a big cast of Disney Channel regulars, including Calum Worthy who is funny as Max’s obnoxious older brother.

There’s even a head scratching appearance from the late Joan Rivers as Max’s grand mother. The scene feels over rehearsed, but Rivers does sneak in some of her classic improve. “Mostly Ghostly” is a good time, there’s just not a lot of script to fill ninety minutes. I think if the writers cut down fifteen minutes and didn’t pad the story with Max trying to win over his bland love interest, this sequel might have worked. Bella Thorne is very pretty, but really does nothing but play love interest to Ochoa’s character. She also fails to convince audiences she’s awkward by muttering “um” every other word in a sentence. It’s surprising she gets top billing here since she really does nothing but act as a goal for Max’s social life.

She’s a decent actress, she just has nothing to do here. Speaking of doing nothing, Phears is a well designed villain who does literally nothing but grumble in his cemetery while sending out deceased acrobat Emma to take charge, and she’s never really a threat. You have to appreciate the appearance by Anastasia Baranova, who is currently slumming it on “Z Nation.” The movie really belongs to Pettis and Rochon Fegan, both of whom are searching for their parents to confirm if they’re alive or dead. Fegan and Pettis have fine chemistry together and their exploits just seem much more fascinating. All in all, “Have You Met My Ghoulfriend?” is overly padded, but makes for a decent fantasy horror adventure. Especially for RL Stine aficionados.