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'The Curse of Bridge Hollow' review: Harmless Halloween fun for the whole family

Courtesy of Netflix


Taking a page from fellow Netflix Halloween comedy “Hubie Halloween,” the equally harmless and light “The Curse of Bridge Hollow” provides a nice dose of family hijinks just in time for the spooky season. Targeted mostly at the teenage demographic, especially with casting “Stranger Things” breakout Priah Ferguson in her first lead role, “The Curse of Bridge Hollow” plays like an extended episode of “Goosebumps,” clocking just under 90-minutes. Marlon Wayans co-stars, bringing his goofy charm and high pitch squealing that made him a household name in the “Scary Movie” franchise and “White Chicks.” This film is obviously a bit more retrained and less raunchy, but the usually high-energy comedian slips into the overprotective father-figure role with ease, turning in scatological humor for silly belly laughs. It’s cheesy, but for the nature of “Bridge Hollow,” it works.

Ferguson plays Sydney, a spunky teen angry that her loving parents (Wayans and Kelly Rowland) relocated them to the sleepy town of Bridge Hallow where Halloween festivities run rampant and paranormal activity is expected. Sydney’s dad Howard (Wayans) believes there’s always a logical and scientific explanation for unexplained phenomenon’s and pushes his daughter into science club even though she would prefer the Paranormal Society. When Sydney accidently awakens a dormant spirit on Halloween night, Bridge Hollow becomes a playground for chaos as decorations and other Halloween decor spring to life and throws Howard’s methodical thinking out the window.

The father/daughter dynamic of “Bridge Hollow” gives director Jeff Wadlow enough juice to cruse over annoying side characters (why does Rob Riggle always show up?) hurried plot developments (Sydney conveniently befriends a squad of paranormal obsessed tweens) and questionable CGI graphics, though the movie gets style points for infusing practical effects when it can. Wadlow isn’t keen on scaring the youngsters, instead aiming for laughs and if you’re not a fan of Wayans broad comedic intuition, there probably won’t be much here for you to latch onto. A scene when Howard has a tango with a gigantic spider is where the humor reaches peak levels, everything in between sort of feels on autopilot, but watching at home feels less burdensome and you might seem inclined to see it through. Or maybe you’ll change the channel.

“The Curse of Bridge Hollow” doesn’t come close to breaking new ground and re-inventing the strained father/daughter trope, but the enduring chemistry between Wayans and Ferguson elevates it. Especially as Sydney’s mother Emily (Rowland) isn’t given much to do other than be the cliched supportive figure waiting for her one moment to show up and save the day. If you want something mindless and breezy on your Netflix playlist that’s seasonal, you might put on “Hubie Halloween” first, but “The Curse of Bridge Hollow” isn’t far behind.

Grade: B-

THE CURSE OF BRIDGE HOLLOW is now streaming on Netflix.


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