Television Council Reviews
aim to provide you with advanced information about an entertainment
offering so that you can be the final arbiter of what you and your
Get new reviews sent to your inbox!
By Aubree Bowling
July 21, 2006
Voices of Steve Buscemi,
Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Animated adventure drama
PG for intense images, thematic elements and some crude humor and language
10 and older
the new animated feature from producer Steven Spielberg tells the story of a
wild and wicked Halloween adventure. The movie opens ominously when a scary
looking old man, Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi), steals a little girl's
tricycle when she rides past his creepy house. This action is observed by a
neighbor boy across the street, DJ (Mitchel Musso). DJ documents the theft and
soon he and his best friend, Chowder (Sam Lerner) are approaching the house
themselves. Old man Nebbercracker tries to steal their basketball, and in a
rage he grabs DJ and tries to get him off the lawn. The old man collapses and
is taken away in an ambulance. Soon the boys discover the problem across the
street wasn't the old man, but his house.
The house comes
alive—upstairs windows light up like demon eyes, the boards around the front
porch become sharp teeth, and a long rug lashes out like a tongue, snatching
people and things into a hole in the floor. After the babysitter's boyfriend
gets eaten by the house, and DJ and Chowder rescue a girl named Jenny (Spencer
Locke) from being swallowed whole, the kids begin plotting a way to "kill" or
disable the possessed house.
This movie is full of
thrills and adventure, as well as a fair amount of dark, scary material. There
is a particularly disturbing scene when the kids go to the house's basement and
find out why it is possessed and violent. One particularly sad and violent
death occurs in the movie, with the skeletal remains shown long after the fact.
Other scenes imply death, as well. When the house comes to life, it is quite
menacing and has many terrifying ways of capturing victims.
Parents might also be
concerned with some other content in the movie. There are scenes of disrespect
and disregard for authority. DJ's parents are out of town over night and his
sitter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) repeatedly calls him a loser, doesn't pay attention
to him, steals money his parents left for emergencies, has a boyfriend over who
drinks beer, and breaks a vase and tells DJ she plans to blame it on him. There
are toilet and gross-out jokes, too. DJ and Chowder urinate in soda bottles
while hiding out in DJ's room and discuss it on two occasions. One character
tells the kids, "You make me want to throw up in tin foil and eat it." There
are also a couple of visual gags that involve a dog urinating and a comment
about a video game champion using adult diapers. Language is not severe in this
movie; the word "crap" was used once. There isn't much sexual innuendo, but
both DJ and Chowder develop crushes on Jenny and DJ kisses her. At the end, she
hugs both boys goodbye and after she leaves Chowder says, "She grabbed my butt."
lives up to its title. The PTC does not recommend this movie for children under
10 years old or older kids who are easily frightened.
Family Movie Reviews
The Parents Television Council -
Have you seen this movie?
Comment on this review, Click here!