Ending October with another spooky Halloween classic. Life changes dramatically forever for 13-year-old Marnie Cromwell (Kimberly Brown) when she discovers her seem to be normal family, has a bloodline of witches. It's Halloween night, and Marnie pleads and begs to go out, but her over-protective mom Gwen (Judith Hoah) never wants or lets her children celebrate the hyped-up holiday. When their Grandma Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) shows up with candy, costumes, and a big secret, Marnie learns that she's a witch and that a very dark force is threatening Halloweentown- the place that Aggie lives and Gwen was raised. It was time for Marnie to really discover who she is and everything she is capable of. Despite this, her crazy mother Gwen doesn't want anything to do with magic or witches, and sends Aggie back to Halloweentown. Marnie decides to follow Aggie to Halloweentown, along with nerdy, intelligent brother Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) and little sis Sophie (Emily Roeske).
In Halloweentown-a very cheery-looking village populated with monsters, goblins, witches, ghosts, vampires, and other freakish creatures – the Cromwell kids decide to help their grandmother track down and eliminate the dark force that's turning the citizens of Halloweentown into zombies. Marnie, Dylan, Sophie, and Aggie work together to uncover the mystery, a hunt that leads them to a terrifying warlock with plans to destroy not only Halloweentown, but the normal (mortal) world as well. Of course, when the kids' mom shows up, she threatens to put a wrench in their plans and send them home again.
Although some scenes fall a little flat and the storyline is nothing new, this made-for-TV movie still offers a satisfying brew. It's a fun combo of festive Halloween sets, creative costumes, and family adventure, all rolled up into one tween-safe feature. Reynolds, Hoag, and Brown are especially good in their roles as grandmother, mother, and daughter. This Halloween adventure is mostly pure entertainment, but the storyline does include some valuable messages. Compared to other tween-targeted productions, this Disney feature is downright wholesome, but parents of younger or more sensitive children should note that it includes a couple of mildly scary scenes.
Among all the cheesy Disney channel tropes, cringe worthy dialogue, and eye roll-able jokes, there is a very charming film here. A film that young kids can understand, and adults can find cute and enjoyable.
Halloweentown overall gives off a very comforting tone and mood. It’s a relaxing film for the audience to experience without having to think too deeply. I often times don’t like it when a film opts to play it safe, but this is the exception for me.
The town of Halloweentown is one of my favorite parts of the entire movie. The makeup design on all the monsters that the audience gets to see inhabiting the town are pretty goofy and funny. The festive set pieces of the town square are great as well, I can tell that a lot of effort was put into the design of them. Friends and family can definitely come together and relax watching this classic movie.