Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket (2016)

A few weeks ago I was in a big Nancy Drew mood, which strikes me on occasion. I rewatched the fabulous 2007 film, and discovered a new adaption!...Which I hated! 10 minutes in and I literally wanted to murder everyone involved. After I stopped watching, another film caught my attention-Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket. 'Hmmm, sounds like a Nancy Drew ripoff,' I thought, 'Surely it can't be worse than that last film! And god knows I'm a sucker for Nancy Drew derivatives! Bring it on!'...

Sleuthing teenager and budding author Annabelle Hooper is taken to Nantucket by her parents for a holiday. Her father is hoping this trip expands her horizons, and opens up her writer's block. It begins to with its pretty and rustic scenery, but soon Annabelle starts seeing more than she bargained for, when she realises their new house is haunted. Together with some new friends she sets out to discover the history of the house and the island,

Coming straight from Canada (actually Massachusetts, but same thing basically), Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket is a pretty good time to be had, and great for kids and teens! It's a spooky tale of the supernatural, that knows not to talk down to its audience. That's not to say it's a legitimately gripping = in league with The Changeling or The Haunting, but it's never like a throwaway Disney film (not to harp on those though, as they can be fun in a stupid or legit way), and some scenes are genuinely tense!

The plot is quite well thought out. Even though some of the twists are very, *very* predictable, you enjoy the road getting there, and there are some elements I honestly really appreciated! For example, you know how ghosts in movies are often cryptic, and don't just come right out and say something (and you wish they were corporeal so your popcorn would hit them)? Well Ghosts of Nantucket is in the same League as Realms of the Haunting, in that the ghost is not only talkative (after a certain point), but upfront and helpful! Thank god! It's amazing how refreshing one little touch can be.
Really my only huge issue with the plot is that it takes forever for the prologue to be connected with the rest of the plot, and does raise more questions than it answers (if the ghosts aren't bad, why were those kids running out in mortal terror?).

The Fiddler's Green conceit is pretty high concept, and a little silly. Everyone also seems to treat it pretty casually, while also acknowledging it as something world-changing. This confused me a little, to be honest, and as I watched I was never sure if Fiddler's Green was literally a magical place, or if it was just a lush Tahitian island with lots of oil or something. I was surprised that the unseen mastermind so readily believes in magic! Props to him for not being a skeptic.

That leads nicely into the matter of this property's future. Ghosts of Nantucket is a perfectly acceptable/= standalone feature, but it lays a few seeds to be explored later, such as the unseen employer of the two villains. He's like a Blofeld figure, although less in the action, which I kinda appreciate. on one hand I would've liked to see more of him and got to know the character at least a little, but this way the movie has the chance o focus purely on its own story and cast, and leave future stuff for future movies.

The scares in this movie was mostly well crafted. There are a few jump scares (often clumped together in the same scene!), but they're not horrible ones, and it goes easy on them after the first quarter. The = are mostly pretty subtle in their creepiness, relying on effective music or silence to get across =. Later on the plot overtakes the scariness (especially once we realise pretty quickly that the ghosts are benevolent), but there are still some eerie scenes here and there, like he musical ghosts (singing? Not so great. Tone? Bloody spot on!)

The cast of characters in Ghosts of Nantucket is a colourful one. This isn't necessarily a good thing though. The lead is pretty good. Plucky and resourceful, in a believable enough way. Her = Maddie on the other hand talks in the most obnoxiously genius way imagineable! If she was meant to be autistic or something I guess it could make sense, but otherwise, not really. Thankfully she's still a good character, and this habit becomes less pronounced as the movie goes on.

Jake is the straight man, and the one always =. Thankfully he does genuinely care and contributes very effectively in some scenes, so he's never useless or just an annoying whiner. A weaker link is Billy. He's not terrible, and he does improve as the movie goes on, but he gives off serial killer vibes, and could not have been more obvious if the words 'I am a ghost' were emblazoned on his forehead. He's also a bit intrusive early on, and I was thinking "Dude, no-one invited you!". Like I said though, he gets better in a few ways, and most of these issues cease to matter after a while.

Then there are the villains, Argyle and Tweed, who are the most over-the-top guys imaginable! They act like they're in an amateur-drama production, and dress accordingly. They have their annoying moments, but also some amusing ones too. They rarely feel like serious threats though. The supporting cast can be pretty overbearing at times too. Never enough to be too bad, but it still might =  I at least respect the film though for not making everyone dull cardboard cutouts. It went the extra mile/put the effort into making everyone distinct, so even if they didn't succeed, I still applaud their effort

Everything I said above covers the acting as well as the characters. The main group are the best, a little wooden or umconvincing at worst, but pretty neat and impressive at best. It's some of the adults who deliver the worst performances (or the most eccentric, depending on your point of view).

The location in this movie is great! It really brings Nantucket to life, and makes you wanna visit. If this was designed even a little to draw tourists in, it succeeded with me!

Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket may have its problems, and it's not a Nancy Drew knockoff, unfortunately, but I found it to be a perfectly satisfactory film in its own right. I recommend it for those wanting a nice teen ghost film, with a healthy touch of mystery...

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