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Monster House

By Aubree Bowling

 

Release Date:  July 21, 2006

Starring: Voices of Steve Buscemi, Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Genre: Animated adventure drama

MPAA Rating: PG for intense images, thematic elements and some crude humor and language

Age Recommendation: 10 and older

 

Monster House, 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."

 

Monster House 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.


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