What happens when the fearless face their fears? That is the question posited by the DCOM, Girl Vs. Monster. In many regards, looking at the poster it brings to mind another teenage girl that fought monsters.
You can not go to the party
Which that line was but just of an ugh. Turns out the reason that her parents are so overprotective is that they are monster hunters and monsters come out the most during Halloween. Well, Skylar tries to shut off the power to sneak out but instead accidentally pulls a Peck, and well…
Yeah, this but on a Disney Channel budget. And this is where one of the more interesting ideas of the movie is presented in that everyone has a personal monster. This also explains why Skylar had grown up fearless as her parents had trapped her personal monster away in a containment unit when she was just a baby. Apparently, this is something no other monster hunter had figured out how to do. I’m of two minds about this and I think the movie does agree with me somewhat. First off, I get the want and desires of parents wanting to protect their kids. But on the other hand, we need fear. Fear is an obstacle that we can overcome to show that we are strong and what once scared isn’t that scary anymore. Consider this line from an article about the importance of fear.
Fear is …. in the formation of direction. It is my deep conviction that a life without direction is not worth living.
I mean if I could remove my fear of clowns, maybe that could be a little better but at the same having, fear is like a roller coaster. Stay with me on this, you approach something and it starts slow but as you get closer to facing your fear, you go up a steep hill where it feels like it’ll take forever and then you speed right down leaving your fear behind you. You may not be completely over it but it won’t loom over you as much.
So, this is a good idea but as stated I believe that we need fear and this is how Skylar is experiencing every fear that her parents have kept locked away for the past fifteen years. We also find out that Skylar’s two best friends also have their own personal monsters, a scarecrow, and a witch that looks like a librarian.
For a Disney Channel movie, I think these designs are pretty good and they actually tie into the personal fears. The Witch is because the character of Sadie, Skylar’s female best friend goofed on a spelling bee and she represents that. The Scarecrow is because Henry, Skylar’s other best friend is because he is a scarecrow from a cornfield that he was afraid to use as a shortcut to head home and the other kids made fun of them.
Looking at Henry, it’s also important to take note that if one lets their fear, they’ll freeze in place. Playing on the adage of freezing in fear. Consider what is written in this Psychology Today piece.
Severe anxiety and fear, then, naturally causes mammals like we humans to freeze. While that may be the best response in some cases, it can be dangerous in others
This also speaks to how one cannot let fear control their life but there should be a balance between understanding that one needs fear and constantly living in fear. It’s also why I don’t buy that anyone is truly fearless. To me, when people say that it just rings a bit hollow.
Looking at this also speaks to the idea of overcoming one’s fear by standing up to it and it’ll shrink down to the size of nothingness.
To defeat her personal monster, however, Skylar isn’t the one that needs to let go but rather her parents need to let go of their fear of anything bad happening to her and trust that can take of herself. This works and her fear is defeated, however, there is a sequel but that never materialized.
In all, this isn’t a bad movie but I would say that it’s one of the weaker entries that we’ve looked at thus far.
I’m not gonna spend too much time on the characters as I don’t think they are overly important.
Skylar played by Olivia Holt
Holt as Skylar is quite likable and even in the beginning when she’s presented as fearless, she never comes off as cocky or unlikable. Just rather a very brave kid that’s never faced fear until now. Seeing her struggle with fear is quite a lot and it’s a lot for her to take in.
Henry and Sadie played by Brendan Meyer & Kerris Dorsey
I feel like Henry and Sadie are a nice balance to Skylar as they show that that they live in fear unlike their best friend but it also speaks to how they can overcome their fear. With their personal monsters and it is a nice moment seeing them stand up to them.
Deimata played by Tracy Dawson
Looking at Diemata, I get a budget Hocus Pocus vibe but it works in her favor and she does have great moments including an Ursula esque moment where she takes over the body of Skylar’s rival and later the boy she has a crush on as a way to deter Skylar. I don’t find her to be the scariest Disney villain but I imagine for a lot of younger kids that may have watched this, she may have left an impression on them.
My Final Thoughts
This movie isn’t half bad, even if elements of it like I said come off as a lesser Ghostbusters but if you focus on the elements of facing your fears and how you can’t live in fear is a good message. Join me next time as we look at the movie Invisible Sister.