Universal // 2014 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // April 6th, 2014
Roll out the black carpet!
Mattel continues to pump out the direct-to-video movies from the Ghouls of Monster High, Barbie's not-too-scary would-be cousins. The latest offering is Frights, Camera, Action!, featuring the same tongue-in-cheek horror references and puns we've come to associate with the gang.
Draculara (Sue Swan) has a problem with the latest boovie she and her friends go to see. The biggest star in Hauntlywood, Veronica Von Vamp (Karen Strassman), is not being historically accurate. That's a problem for Draculara, when the subject matter is the Vampire Royal Court because she was there and knows firsthand when things aren't right! Draculara knows how the search for the Vampire Queen goes and what's being depicted isn't it! Her antics at the theater get her into trouble with her frenemies who begin referring to her as Her Royal Fakeness.
But we learn Lord Stoker (James Horan), the vampire who's been searching for the Vampire Queen for the past four centuries, has a problem. He's grown to love the power associated with his role too much however the Vampire Council is no longer content to just let him be. When they give him an ultimatum he lies and says he's actually found the Vampire Queen. What's he going to do now? In a twist you'll see a mile away Stoker decides Draculara is the perfect candidate. She's weak and easily manipulated. Plus she doesn't have her vampire powers, which is a real sore spot for the young vampire.
However, Draculara has her Ghouls by her side and when she discovers the deception she decides to find the true Vampire Queen. And thus the fangtastic adventure of Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! truly kicks into gear. Traveling around the world to places such as Londoom and New Gorleans, the gang meets new friends along the way to Hauntlywood itself where everything culminates in a shocking revelation.
I have a soft spot for Monster High and all of its boovies...er, movies. Though you'll be able to see the plot unfolding like a cheap fan, the message of being true to yourself and cultivating strong friendships rings true. I also enjoy the way care is taken to include male characters. Though the audience may be predominantly female, at least they're trying to reach the big and little brothers who may be watching. Frights, Camera, Action! earns a recommendation for the empowerment it offers as well as the puns and overall cheeky attitude the Ghouls display.
Universal's Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! (Blu-ray) boasts the best quality technical specs of any Monster High release yet. Though I wish the animation was a bit more fluid in regards to the characters' movement, the 1.78:1/1080p HD transfer is boo-tiful. The color palette is richly saturated overall. Each character has a signature look with a dominant color and they all look cohesive and well-drawn, clearly belonging in the same universe. In a movie like this, the black levels are one of the most important elements and they are handled very well. It's the prettiest Monster High movie yet. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is more than the movie needs, which is always a pleasant surprise. The three language tracks in English, French, and Spanish are well leveled and never blow out. Though the movie doesn't require the vast soundspace the DTS-HD tracks offer you'll be pleased with the richness you can hear.
Bonus features consist of three Monster High shorts, animated in a different style than the movie, which is a nice touch. We also get a standard def DVD copy, iTunes digital copy, and UltraViolet download.
I'm a fan of Monster High in all its incarnations. This is a welcome addition to your little Ghoul's collection.
Review content copyright © 2014 Dawn Hunt; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (French)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 2014
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Animated Shorts
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Copy
* Official Site