A Ghost to Mull Over
Young Oliver McCaffrey (Nicholas Stargel), along with his parents and sister leave the city for a new suburban life in a quaint town. But on the first night in their new home Oliver believes he can hear a piano which when he goes exploring in the attic ends up breaking through a thin wall to discover Clive (Martin Mull - Come Away Home), a ghost who lives there. Of course when he tells his parents that there is a ghost in the attic they don't believe him but over the next few days Oliver befriends Clive who becomes like a parent to him, helping him out with various problems and talking to him, something which his family don't do as having lived in the city they are all use to doing their own thing. Eventually Clive appears to the rest of the family where upon they learn of the reason why he is haunting their home and set about helping Clive with some unfinished business involving his daughter who eloped on her 18th birthday many years ago.
"Oliver's Ghost" in truth is nothing special and is a movie very much in the tradition of children's ghost stories where we have a child in a new home discovering a ghost and befriending it. Although having said that, "Oliver's Ghost" is an American movie and most of these movies tend to be set in Britain where we have creepy old houses. Plus we have a further dynamic introduced to the familiar ghost story as we have a modern family who are each busy doing their own thing to really be a family.
As such "Oliver's Ghost" for the most follows the path set out by other children's ghost stories as we watch Oliver befriend Clive and eventually help him find peace so he can move on from haunting the house. It works through these familiar elements quite nicely with some light, comical scares but also some nice bonding with Martin Mull making for a fantastic ghost in a very human sort of way, you will have to watch to understand what I mean.
In truth what was more entertaining was to use this ghost story set up to show how dysfunctional the McCaffrey family were as they each live their own lives. Most of this entertainment comes from them having moved to the suburbs as city life had caused them to be individuals but now they have no idea how to be a family, what to talk about and so on with Oliver being left out being the youngest. It is actually a nice embellishment to "Oliver's Ghost" and the familiar ghost story which makes this a movie which whilst you know how it going to play out keeps you interested and entertained.
What this all boils down to is that "Oliver's Ghost" is a pleasant surprise as it takes the classic children's ghost story of a child discovering a ghost in a new home and updates it nicely. It also embellishes it with the whole dysfunctional family side as we see a family who are living their own busy lives despite moving to suburbia to spend more time together.