A winning, if uneven, blend of affectionate nostalgia and supernatural scariness, set in an idealised small town community in 1962. Haas gives a luminous performance as a young boy whose innocence is tainted when he finds himself caught between a serial child murderer, the ghost of one of the killer's victims, and the unquiet spirit of the dead girl's mother. Seen through the boy's eyes, the events have a haunting quality that is reinforced by the juxtaposition of ethereal apparitions with the more tangible terror of the child killer. An undercurrent of social reality makes itself felt, particularly when the townspeople turn on the school's black janitor, exposing an undercurrent of incipient racism. But LaLoggia is also guilty here and there of questionnable excess: the cosy Italian-American family scenes tend to slip into sentimentality, while the special effects overkill of the fairytale ending threatens to drown out the more restrained character development.
Cast and crew