14 April 2012 | jacobtlong
Judge it for what it is... A TV Movie
I've been a Brian Keene fan for a while and Ghoul is one of my favorite tales of horror. When I heard there would be a movie I was pretty excited, but I didn't want to get involved in a lot of the hype. As someone who happens to be a Stephen King fan, I know all about bad movie adaptations.
Well, Ghoul isn't exactly a bad movie adaptation. It's just not a true adaptation. The movie does manage to convey the spirit of the book to a certain degree when it is not being hindered by the typical downfalls of every TV movie (the shaky acting, the questionable production, the lack of violence, etc.), but the scares and thrills just aren't there.
The ultimate difference between the book and the movie is that the book is a terrifying and visceral experience. The movie starts out with possibilities of being the same, but skews off in a different direction and becomes something akin to a Lifetime movie. The ghoul that was so frightening in the book almost becomes a Scooby Doo villain in the movie.
The book is terrifying and disturbing. The movie is only slightly disturbing and not very terrifying. The atmosphere of the movie is just too tame and too sterile to warrant terror. The disturbing factor is the relationship between Doug and his mother and Barry and his father, but the book handles it much better. So what the movie had going for it is nothing that hasn't already been done better before.
But, judging the movie for what it is, I'd still say it was entertaining up to a point. A decent and watchable film, but I just didn't find it to be a very memorable movie. If you want a great growing-up adventure movie about kids then Stand By Me does a much better job. If you want a great disturbing horror movie about kids then there is always Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door.
Ghoul just doesn't have that same zing.