Shout! Factory // 2011 // 132 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // February 1st, 2013
"Respect my space, get out of my face."
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume Four features five more episodes from the latter half of the first season.
"Wrong Number" -- The school's mean girls Steffani (Debby Ryan, The Suite Life on Deck) and Taylor (Sarah Dugdale, The Secret Circle) learn a lesson when they prank call the wrong person.
"Afraid of Clowns" -- Christopher (Jake Cherry, Night at the Museum) has harbored a fear of clowns his whole life, believing they have been stalking him for years. Is he right?
"Pool Shark" -- Kai (Booboo Stewart, Hansel and Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft) believes the local pool is haunted by a shark but no one else sees it.
"Lights Out" -- Teddy (Gabriel Basso, The Big C) thinks he can produce a better ghost hunting video than the cheesy show his sister Haley (Madison Desjarlais, Girl in Progress) watches. Recruiting her and their friend Sean (Jeffrey Ballard, Emily Owens, M.D.) they go to the local abandoned mental hospital where they find exactly what they're looking for.
"The Perfect Brother" -- Josh (Landon Liboiron, Terra Nova) can never measure up to his brother Matt (Gregg Sulkin, Wizards of Waverly Place.) There's a reason for that.
The Haunting Hour is designed to scare kids and maybe it works on the younger set but those in the double digits will likely shy away from it. Volume Four showcases some of the weaker offerings of the first season, with "The Perfect Brother" more likely to make someone cry than scream. "Wrong Number" is the slowest of the bunch, with the action taking a while to build. "Afraid of Clowns" is the most disturbing since it deals with an actual phobia as well as a parent's dismissal of that real fear. Kids who feel the same as the protagonist will likely feel disturbed by this one.
Video is what you'd expect from a standard broadcast although it definitely plays with the black levels, lowering them to the point of obscurity for atmosphere's sake (and to hide some of the magic behind the scares.) Audio is a bit better with a full Dolby 5.1 so the stingers and screams can be clearly heard over the rest of the soundtrack.
The extras are a collection of old promos and a behind-the-scenes interview with a star from the episode "Wrong Number."
It's tough to see youngsters being drawn to The Haunting Hour but maybe it's for those new to scary stuff. It's a show parents can watch with kids although those on the younger end will likely be truly scared.
Buy at your own risk.
Review content copyright © 2013 Dawn Hunt; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated