Goblin (2010): Out now on DVD
(15) Running time: 92 minutes
Director: Jeffery Scott Lando
Writer: Raul Inglis
Starring: Gil Bellows, Tracy Spiridakos, Camille Sullivan
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Goblin is a made for TV movie which premiered on the all important SyFy channel, and considering the small budget, it aint all that bad. Granted it is not the best horror of the year, but Goblin should satisfy those not looking for anything too polished. Granted the film has numerous flaws, mainly the pacing and some dodgy special effects and the odd bit of bad writing, but on the whole this is good Friday night entertainment.
We learn the plot (or more, guess the obvious) in the opening scene as we join some locals gathering around their fire in the small country town of Hallow Glen. What appear to be Pagan’s offer up a sacrifice each year to rid the town of bad things and improve their harvest, and the offering is usually a new born. Unlucky for those on October 31st 1831, the newborn thrown into the fire is that of a Witch, and she curses the town to make sure no child will be safe. A rustling in the flames and out pops the Goblin, hell bent on revenge. Forward to the present day and the town still lives in the shadow of the curse, and the locals all close up shop on Halloween night and stay indoors, for fear of the Goblin (who hunts on Halloween) murdering them and their children. See, this nasty old bastard only appears on Halloween to try and claim as many kids as possible, and kill anyone else who gets in his way.
A broken family come to town, with the Father in the hope of setting up a business. It is pointless going into too much detail about the family’s issues as they all get on and it doesn’t really add to the story. All you need to know is that they have moved to a cabin right next to where the fire took place that created the Goblin, and Halloween is approaching. The family arrive at a local diner, lost and are helped by the Sherriff and his wife, and as they leave the diner a crazy old man tells them they should leave. However, they stay and eventually, as expected, the Goblin jumps out of his tomb and goes on a killing spree. There is very little else you really need to know about the plot, it is as basic as they come, but sometimes things don’t need to be too complicated. This is a tale of a monster violently killing the residents of the town of Hallow Glen, and of how one family get involved, mixed up in the shenanigans and try to destroy the Goblin.
The Goblin itself is a rather cool creation, so long as you don’t see it for too long. Clearly the budget was small for this horror, and the less you see of the Goblin in full view the better. It is much stronger when the Goblin appears in the distance, the close ups on its face are a little too CGI and very nearly ruin the tension. Sadly, come the end the Goblin loses its cloak, and it becomes laughable, but up until that point the monster is great fun to watch. It is quite violent too, with some impressive kills including the monster using its claws to literally rip one victim apart, or clapping its hands as to crush a man’s head, or even better, forcing a window to smash and throwing glass into a victim. Make no mistake, this Goblin is nasty and that is where this film works, it doesn’t hold back. The atmosphere is incredibly creepy at times too, with great use of music and scenery to really build up the tension. The actors all do a pretty decent job too, considering they are relative unknowns, they play their parts convincingly. The scares are well timed, although the use of a sudden loud burst of noise does become a bit tiresome as the film goes on.
The film does have its flaws though, and even though for the most part the script is very good, it does have its moments of utter badness. For example, a girl is flirting with a local guy in the woods, he says to her “God you’re hot” and she replies “careful or you might get burned” Ha! It is silly, but enjoyable. However, since this film is played deadly serious, poor writing such as this feels completely out of place. Also, as I said earlier the pacing is a bit slow in places, and the final twenty odd minutes are a real let down.
Saying that though, Goblin delivers the goods, especially if you are looking for something to add to your Friday night list of beer movies. It won’t win any awards, but then it doesn’t want to. It plays by the rules, delivers exactly what you hoped, and will no doubt please many horror fans. Goblin is nothing out of the ordinary, but it is a Hell of a lot of fun.