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  • Writer's pictureMatt Conway

The Curse of Bridge Hollow: Review

The Curse of Bridge Hollow Synopsis: A man and his daughter must team up to save their town after an ancient and mischievous spirit causes Halloween decorations to come to life and wreak havoc.

A neurotic science teacher and his teenage daughter find themselves as the last hope of stopping a nightmarish curse from possessing their festive town in The Curse of Bridge Hollow. The latest Halloween-themed Netflix title continues the well-honored trend of infusing child-like wonder into the typically macabre holiday. Some films conjure creative concoctions from their family approach (Monster House and Casper), whereas others punish viewers with a most sinister trick - stealing their time (Hocus Pocus 2 is the latest culprit).

Thankfully, Bridge Hollow gets the mystical spell just right. In the vein of playful romps like Halloweentown, the film provides a cheerful dose of earnest, family-friendly entertainment.

I give much of the credit here to the film's dynamic cast. Following years stuck starring in lackluster comedies, Marlon Wayans finally re-ignites his personable charm onscreen. The Scary Movie comedic star infuses bubbly comedic energy into the nebbish role of a science teacher who shuns Halloween's paranormal qualities. Wayans' expressive reactions and sharp timing help elevate a standard issue role into a fitting project for the usually adult-oriented star. Perhaps a newfound focus on family-friendly vehicles is the start of a welcomed second-act renaissance for Wayans.

Bridge Hollow also features a rogues gallery of talented character actors. Lauren Lapkus remains a scene-stealer as the town's eccentric mayor; Rob Riggle parodies machismo bravado with his over-eager neighbor character, while Kelly Rowland and Stranger Things standout Priah Ferguson infuse personability in their central family roles. The cast possesses an easy-going bravado that fits the material's light-hearted sensibility like a glove.

For better or worse, The Curse of Bridge Hollow embraces the type of easy-going family formula it wants to achieve. Director-for-hire Jeff Wadlow, whose more infamously known for horror flops Truth or Dare and Fantasy Island, pushes the narrative along with an economical eye for storytelling. As a result, the breezy 91-minute runtime flies by with ease, with screenwriters Robert Rugan and Todd Berger paying most of their attention to lively jokes. Whether it's spoofs of pop culture artifacts or humorous reflections on family dynamics, the screenwriting duo incorporates a plethora of well-timed comedic flourishes.

The straightforward approach comes with some limitations. Wadlow is capable enough to guide the narrative along, but the film can't help feeling lacking in its visual imagination. The array of Halloween-themed creatures that come to life often do so through cheap CGI effects and flat aesthetic choices. A few more innovative decisions could have turned Bridge Hollow into something grander than your typical family-centric offering.

Bridge Hollow still charms where it matters most. Netflix's latest Halloween offering hits the sweet spot in its attempts to provide spooky entertainment for all ages.

Bridge Hollow is now playing on Netflix.

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