Secrets of Sulphur Springs fails to Capture ‘Mystery feel’

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Michael Totosz, Staff Writer

If the title Secrets of Sulphur Springs creates the expectation of a problem-solving adventure, prepare to be disappointed. This show is more adventure than mystery.

Main character, 12-year old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver) and the rest of the Campbell family are forced to move from Chicago to Sulphur Springs, Louisiana when Griffin’s dad takes a new job. The family moves into the Tremont Hotel, which is known for being haunted by the ghost of Savannah Dillon (Elle Graham) who disappeared 30 years ago.

After arriving in Sulphur Springs, Griffin attends school where he meets Harper (Kyliegh Curran) where they both express their mutual interests in the ghost of Savannah. When Griffin is giving Harper a tour of the hotel, they go into a bomb shelter and discover a staircase that takes them back 30 years into the past, when Griffin’s dad and Harper’s mom were at camp at the Tremont. Griffin and Harper then decide they will try to uncover why Savannah went missing, and do their best to reverse history.

I knew watching this I had to keep my expectations low for a mystery film, but I still ended up being disappointed with the lack of originality. The “luck” of finding a portal that just so happened to lead Griffin and Harper exactly 30 years into the past is just laughable. This show  seemed like a combination of multiple other “mystery” films from the parents somehow being involved, to dumb luck, and to the annoying side characters that give very little entertainment value.

Along with the lack of originality, the show was pretty cliche with the parents refusing to tell Griffin and Harper information they already knew, and their plan to stop Savannah from going to the dance somehow “didn’t work”. While watching, I was pretty good at guessing what was going to happen next and how the plot was playing out, which is not good in a mystery show.

However, while taking into account the main characters are kids, I was thoroughly pleased with the acting in the film. It was very well up to par with other Disney films that I have watched in the past such as the Lion King remake. Both main characters, Preston and Kyleigh, did a good job keeping the mystery plot alive, even if the plot did not keep up its end of the deal. Griffin’s younger siblings effectively played the annoying little siblings because they annoyed me after a few times of seeing them. The parents also did a great job expressing their surprise and concern when Griffin and Harper would ask them questions relating back to the camp.

One key thing I noticed, however, was the nod to racist customs in the 60s. When attempting to enter the hotel the bellhop allows Griffin to enter, while denying Harper, who is black. I like this implementation by the director because teaching kids early about these things is how they learn these actions are wrong.

Secrets of Sulphur Springs did not meet my expectations for a mystery show. More could have been done to create originality; however, most of the kids watching this show will be younger than me, and they will most likely enjoy it more because of the Sci-Fi aspect. Based on my analysis I give the show a two out of five star rating.