Directed by Raja Gosnell starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini and Rowan Atkinson.

There's one big mystery that needs to be solved in this movie - though it has nothing to do with the plot. Why the need for Fred, Daphne and Velma? With Prinze, Gellar and Cardellini's characters barely getting a decent gag but afforded plenty of screentime, you wonder why Gosnell didn't just stick to Scooby and Shaggy, follow the adventures of the genius on four legs and the soap dodger on two and leave the rest back in telly land. Sadly, he doesn't and the result sees another cartoon character join the list of injured parties who have suffered when Hollywood gets its hands on them.

The plot fits right into the time-frame of a TV episode: the gang arrives on Spooky Island and tries to figure out what's turning the holidaying college kids into zombies. Problem is, it's an 87-minute film and around the half-way mark you feel that Scooby's cartoon habit of running past the same backdrop again and again during a chase is about to go one step further on the big screen with gags recycled until the close.

Granted, there are some good moments - a fine kicking for Scrappy-Doo, a nice sequence where the characters' souls swap bodies - but otherwise it's no funnier (and maybe less funny) than what you saw on TV. If this had been in the hands of the Farrelly Brothers they'd have had to hand you oxygen on the way in, but it's just not subversive enough. And while Gosnell might claim that he had to play it safe to get the kids in, that doesn't explain monsters that would scare the pants off some adults and rumours that a more grown-up version of the movie was at once stage in the offing.

Ultimately what carries you through are an animated dog and Lillard's eerily perfect portrayal of Shaggy. The more you listen and watch him, the more you'll find yourself tempted to suck your thumb and ask the person beside you if dinner will be ready anytime soon. They're the great memories you'll always have of the 'Scooby-Doo' cartoon - sadly this film won't give you too many more of them.

Harry Guerin