Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Gil Bellows, Tracy Spirdakos, Camille Sullivan, Reilly Dolman, Donnelly Rhodes, Andrew Wheeler
Directed by Jeffery Scott Lando
I followed my viewing of the world premiere of Goblin on Syfy by going out to see a midnight showing of Inception. That is like saying that on the same day that for dinner you dined on a three-course gourmet meal prepared by one of the top chefs in all the world, for lunch you ate the foul steak Jeff Goldblum served to Geena Davis after running it through the “Brundlefly” telepod to test its ability to synthesize flesh. I realize it really isn’t fair to compare and contrast these two films because they are two entirely different movies in different genres with vastly different production budgets and so on, but here I watch Inception, this ingenious Machiavellian mind bender that is constantly keeping you on your toes, and then you have a boilerplate movie like Goblin that doesn’t appear to have any aspirations other than to be another two hours of filler for Syfy to put into heavy rotation.
I know I saw the name of a screenwriter listed in the credits; yet, to watch Goblin is to wonder how much of what appears on screen sprung forth from that writer’s mind and how much of it was him merely transcribing the producer’s or studio’s notes.
I could go on but won’t.
Inception featured dreams inside of dreams within dreams; Goblin is nothing but clichés inside of clichés wrapped up in even more clichés.
The only novel aspect of Goblin is the goblin itself. Baby-eating goblins are nothing new. Seven-foot baby-eating goblins dressed like a Dementer from Harry Potter is something new. The goblin remains dressed head-to-toe in a black cloak as a means so that the budget-strapped filmmakers don’t have to rely on the typically spotty Syfy special effects, thus giving Goblin more a slasher movie feel than that of a creature feature. The digital goblin seen in full bloom during the very beginning and end looks pretty good by Syfy standards; the money saved just having a seven-foot Scream killer with a rubber goblin face and claws skulk about the woods was a wise economical choice.
Unfortunately, there’s this thing called atmosphere that’s typically key to horror movies set on Halloween. An unwise decision was made to set a horror movie about a monstrous figure in a black cloak stalking people on Halloween almost entirely in broad daylight. There is nothing spooky about a hooded being standing next to a tree in the light of day. Only the opening prologue and the finale take place under cover of darkness, and it’s no coincidence that those scenes work better than anything that comes in between.
Another entirely unfulfilling piece of strictly by-the-numbers Syfy filler, Goblin doesn’t muster much by way of cheap thrills or cinematic cheese either. Much of the exposition heavy first half is devoted to a family dynamic that left me rooting for the monster. The father comes across as such a jerk a lot of the time; the way he values his newborn baby to the point of practically treating his teenage children with a certain degree of scorn, I found myself hoping the goblin would eat his baby right in front of the guy just to spite him. Now wouldn’t that have been a heck of a twist?
Even though Goblin is supposed to be taking place on October 31st, most of the cast are attired in clothes much more appropriate to summer time. Someone had better do something about this global warming and fast.
1 1/2 out of 5
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