Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
|Featuring:||Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner, Fred Willard|
|Director:||Gil Kenan—“Poltergeist” (2015)|
|Producer:||Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Jack Rapke|
|Distributor:||Sony Pictures Releasing|
“There goes the neighborhood.”
This year has seen an unusually large volume of “family” films come to the big screen. Some have obviously been better, and more suitable than others. Most had an average amount of inappropriateness or flaws, and why wouldn’t they?
These films are birthed through the eyes and vision of Hollywood. Many would argue that the main focus of Hollywood, when releasing family geared films, would be financial profit . I like to hope for the best and quite often strain to see the good in things. In the case of Monster House, however, I see that the very last thing on anyone’s mind was a child.
What is so horrible about our children being children? Why must the world continue to push buttons and desensitize our children to no longer laugh at the innocence of a knock-knock joke. When an audience full of 4 and 5 year olds laughs hysterically over “jokes” about puberty, murder and the unreliability of adults to take care of kids, one can’t help but realize that somewhere along the way things have gone very wrong.
The basic premise of Monster House is that DJ’s parents are going away over night, leaving him home with a teenaged sitter. DJ, who is certain that the house across the street is evil, enlists the help of his best friend Chowder to get to the bottom of the mystery that is the house. While the two are playing basketball and talking about the house, Halloween and how they might finally be too old to go trick-or-treating—Chowder’s ball suddenly winds up in the yard of the “Evil” house. Soon the boys find themselves in a confrontation with the “old man” who owns the house, and as things turn from bad to worse. We suddenly see the old man keel over, toppling DJ to the ground and convincing both boys that he is dead.
It seems to be this moment when the house begins to become even more alive and sinister.
I could go on and on about the plot. It isn’t really that I fear giving some big secret away Basically, I simply feel there isn’t a point in continuing. As a parent, I sat in the theatre feeling horrified that there were children present. Within the first ten minutes of the film, “oh my G**” is spoken several times; a mother and father drone on about their son’s “puberty;” a father REFUSES to tell his son he loves him; and the tone is set—proving that children are superior, while adults are brainless. I realize the latter is something children might find funny, and I get that. In a movie that is created to scare younger kids, the mere suggestion that their parents are incapable of protecting them is a bad idea. (And not just that they are incapable of protecting them, but that they simply don’t care to be.)
This film is showing in both 3-D and regular format. I imagine the 3-dimensional version appears more frightening, but even the regular format’s violence is intense. Things move quickly, and there are many instances which could both cause children to be scared as well as inspire restless sleep and nightmares.
To list everything offensive in this movie would make this a senselessly long review, so in an effort to be brief, I will name some of the more prevalent instances and offenses:
The babysitter (who is stereo-typically mean) has her boyfriend over well into the late night. While together, alone in the dark, they have a small fight and he leaves. She is furious that he left and states later that she EXPECTED him to come back. It was made clear that her intentions were to have this guy (whose name was Bonez) spend the night.
During the puberty discussion with his parents, DJ’s dad tells him that he knows he uses his telescope to look into the bedrooms of girls (he doesn’t). He goes on to tell him about how, when he was DJ’s age, he did the same thing with twin girls next door. This conversation was VERY inappropriate .
After staying out all night, Chowder is phoned by his very angry father. After disregarding everything his father says, he hangs up the phone while shouting to the receiver “You can kiss my big, hairy, butt!” and then turns to DJ and asks him if he has any beer.
After rescuing a girl named Jenny from the house, both boys begin to fight over her affections. Later in the film there is a kiss shared between Jenny and one boy, and even later the other boy insists she grabbed his “butt”.
After DJ thinks that he killed the old man, many light hearted jokes and comments are made about murder, about DJ being a murderer, etc .
Once the police are called and arrive, they are shown to be gluttonous, stupid and unreliable. I have noticed that’s become a common theme. Maybe, on occasion, it’s funny to laugh at a police man, but I couldn’t help but wonder what this teaches our kids. Do they really feel safer, knowing the police are there if needed, when the examples they see of police are so stunted?
“Oh my G**” is used repetitively, in one scene it’s yelled about 8 times in a row. References to lust, eating people, mutilation, murder, bottles filled with urine, lying, etc are far too numerous to list.
There isn’t really anything that I could pull positively from this film. The story is dark. The reason’s behind the “evil” of this house are sad and never truly resolved. The house, in and of itself, is in fact possessed. That isn’t something which should ever been taken lightly, especially not where children are concerned. As parent’s laughed, along with their children, my heart grieved I grieved for our kids and what they miss out on by learning things too early and growing up far too fast.
I would have walked out after 15 minutes, had I not been reviewing this movie. Truthfully, parts of me still wish I had.
The warning “Inappropriate for small children” should definitely be attached to this film, though it isn’t necessarily the very young children I am worried about. Many parents wouldn’t take a small child to see a movie that looks so scary. But what about our third, fourth and fifth graders? Though the scary violence may be more suited for their ages—I would argue that this film definitely is not. If parents are intent on taking their kids to see something a bit scarier this weekend, I would come closer to recommending M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water”. Though that film is rated PG-13, and I haven’t seen it yet to give a more detailed opinion—at least his films are made with a thread of integrity and I am yet to see one of his projects even a quarter as offensive as this film.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor
Overall, the plot was fairly interesting. But because of the aforesaid crude remarks, I wouldn’t recommend it as a family movie.
Offensive / 3
—Leslie, age 13