Halloween Countdown: Casper

Director: Brad Silberling
Writer:     Sherri Stoner
                Deanna Oliver 
Starring: Christina Ricci
                Bill Pullman
                Cathy Moriarty
                Eric Idle
                Devon Sawa
                Malachi Pearson
                Joe Nipote
                Joe Alaskey
                Brad Garrett
Rating:    *****

My last Halloween countdown focused on my favourite horror movies from the past; this year I thought I would go towards the family friendly Halloween. I am going to countdown 5 family Halloween films, from worst to best. 

Casper (the friendly ghost) is a classic family Halloween film. It is funny, it has minor thrills for the younger ones and is packed with emotion in the final act. This film combines so many different things into one film, and the mixture of genres has created a truly classic piece of cinema history. The added mix of some groundbreaking animation (at the time anyway), help to bring this well-loved story to life and into the hearts of so many, including mine.

Bill Pullman
Carrigan Crittenden (Moriarty) is a spoilt and selfish woman who, when she finds out her father left her his rickety old mansion rather than his millions, is none too pleased. That is until she finds a map indicating there is treasure within the house. However, no sooner after she she arrives at the house, she is chased away by some mean old ghosts, Stinky, Stretch and Fatso (Alaskey, Nipote & Garrett). Her grim determination sees her hire an afterlife therapist, Dr. James Harvey (Pullman), to try and rid the mansion of these spirits. 

So Harvey and his daughter Kat (Ricci) move in, and beofre long Kat meets Casper (Pearson), the ghost of a young boy and "the friendliest ghost you know." With his help, and plenty of laughs along the way, Dr. Harvey and Kat must do all they can to help the ghosts pass on as soon as possible.

Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci are so wonderfully put together as father and daughter in this film, with their chemistry and heart truly driving the story along and filling each scene with genuine emotion. Ricci is truly swept up in this mystical world and her relationship with Casper plays out poignantly as the film progresses. Pullman brings great sorrow and humour to Dr. Harvey, mourning his wife and yet managing to still play certain scenes in a humorous way, despite being pain.

Christina Ricci & Casper
The voice work from Nipote, Alaskey and Garrett are fun, energetic and excitable; each actor brings a special quality to their relevant spook, and they truly bring their animated characters to life. Of course the star of the film is the friendliest ghost himself, Casper. Voiced by Malachi Pearson, he is subtle, warm and full of the right amount of innocence and naivety. he is the perfect opposite for his brash uncles, and his vocal performance is as beautiful as it is fun.

The script is beautifully written, blending together laugh out loud comedy with some truly heartfelt and emotional moments. The script is then performed gorgeously by the amazing cast, with Ricci and Pullman truly tugging on the heart strings and the likes of Cathy Moriarty and Eric Idle bringing the laughs and putting their comedic chops to good use. The direction is stunning, and the final scenes are guaranteed to make you cry. This film has been a favourite within my family, and it will continue to be for years to come.

Casper - Trailer