PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language.
July 21, 2006
Animated, Fantasy, Comedy
(the voices of) Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James
Sony Pictures Releasing
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- Whether or not horror movies should be aimed at children and how broadly we define horror movies (do we include The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?), Monster House is a movie that could have been and should have been much, much better. The beginning has some genuinely scary moments and sets up what could have been a redemptive ending. By two-thirds into the movie, however, the plot has been lost, the premise forgotten, the character motivations confused, and the movie falters.
DJ lives across the street from a rickety old house that he calls the Monster House. Inhabiting the house is a very mean man, Mr. Nebbercracker, who confiscates any toys that end up on his property. In the opening scene, a little girl is riding her tricycle. She makes the mistake of riding onto Mr. Nebbercracker's property, and he takes her tricycle and breaks it. Oooh, this man is mean.
When Chowder goes to the old man's house to claim his new basketball, Mr. Nebbercracker comes out yelling and screaming and eventually falls over apparently dead on top of D.J. Mr. Nebbercracker is taken away in an ambulance, but later that night the house calls D.J. The mean-spirited activities of the house increase, so DJ and Chowder conclude that the Monster House is possessed by the spirit of Mr. Nebbercracker.
DJ tries to tell his parents, but his parents are oblivious and think he's just on the verge of puberty. His parents go away for the weekend.
When the mean, hip, sexy babysitter settles down with her boyfriend, Bones, who has a rock group and who tears up DJ's bunny just for show, DJ and his friend Chowder, along with a very conniving little girl named Jenny, cook up a plan to put the Monster House out of commission.
The police won't protect the neighborhood from the house, so the children visit a 20-year-old slacker named Skull, who spends all his time playing video games. Skull tells them they have to destroy the heart of the house, which they deduce to be the furnace.
When they get inside, they find out that things are not the way they appeared. Eventually, they have to figure out a way to destroy the house by physical means.
Monster House has some truly frightening scenes in the beginning. It seems to be developing a very clear plot, but then some extraneous story elements are added, a new villain is introduced and suddenly the story goes flat. So, the last third of the movie is really a long, tedious chase.
The negative elements of the movie are never rebuked. They include a belief in spiritism, some strong misogynist content, discussions of drugs, stealing from parents, defrauding parents, dismissing God, urinating in bottles, talking about drinking from the bottles, talking about adult diapers, and other scatological elements. These elements seem to be the way the filmmakers are trying to appeal to a younger generation. It may appeal to a few twentysomethings, but children should not be filled with the cynicism, rebellion or fear in Monster House, and parents will not like it one iota.
One reviewer said there's nothing good in this movie. Actually, there are several good things in the movie, including the animation, but all of the good things are overshadowed by the dramatic flaws and immoral content.
Address Comments To:
Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/MGM/TriStar/Screen Gems)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
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NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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