Friday, February 15, 2013

Monster High: Friday Night Frights – review

Director: Dustin McKenzie

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

When I looked at the first DVD released Monster High vehicle, Ghoul’s Rule, there was so little vampire activity that I felt we could get away with an honourable mention rather than a review.

This is not the case with this short animated film (doubled up with feature “Why do Ghouls Fall in Love?” on its UK DVD release) as the Draculaura (Dee Dee Green) character is central within the plot of this.

Laziness again sees me quoting the Wikipedia page with regards this vampire character: “Draculaura is the daughter of Count Dracula. She was 1,599 years old and is now 1,600 years old as of Valentine's Day, and her pet is a bat named Count Fabulous. Although a vampire, she is a vegan and does not drink blood, and is scared to say the word "blood" and faints when she hears it. She has fangs and pale pink skin, and is very friendly. She likes to write stories about her friends and loves to take long walks under the sun (with an umbrella, of course). She is dating a werewolf named Clawd Wolf who is also Howleen and Clawdeen's big brother.”

camera bat
This feature centres around the game Scream – which is a rollerskate chase through a labyrinth of traps, where the first from either team across the winning line takes the game for their side – and anything goes. This “and anything goes” seems to then be ignored as there is behaviour classed as cheating by the Gargoyle team that demolishes the monster high team and wins them the school’s crest – if anything goes how could it be cheating?

Clawd and Draculaura
Anyway, they manage to injure most of the monster high team and the crest contains the school spirit – literally. Without it the school starts to fall apart, which begs the plotting question of why no-one knew? Surely one or the other school has been falling apart as the taking of the crest is a tradition. To win their crest back the team has to be able to get through to the playoffs and meet the Gargoyle team again. But how to do that without a team?

a vampire tries for the team
The girls (cheerleaders all) start by auditioning new players but these new boys, including a vampire character, are pretty rubbish. It then occurs to the girls that there is nothing in the rules preventing girls from playing and so they form a whole girl team… much to the derision of the school and rightly as they are rubbish even losing to the zombie team.

from the vampire team
When they lose to a vampire team they are left in the position of having to win every match to get through but inspiration (from a female player, from the past, whose robotic form is rebuilt) tells them that to win they have to stop trying to play like boys and instead play like girls… in other words play to their strengths. So, overall, the saccharine story has a good, positive message – male and female can be equal but must recognise the differences inherent in the genders and embrace their diversity.

learning to skate
Unfortunately the film doesn’t have the same respect for the monsters of yore, the vampire genre (or any other monster genre) and is a money spinner from a toy company. But we knew that anyway. Is it good? I didn’t think so but I am so far from the target audience it is untrue. That said I have no intention of walking a mile in their moccasins either – 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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