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"MONSTER HOUSE"
(2006) (voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy *Extreme Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Extreme None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Computer Animated Comedy: A group of kids tries to figure out whether the house across the street truly is haunted.
PLOT:
It's the night before Halloween, and young DJ (voice of MITCHEL MUSSO) is concerned about the house across the street. Owned by the cantankerous Horace Nebbercracker (voice of STEVE BUSCEMI) who chases off anyone who steps on his lawn, the place seems to be haunted and maybe even a living entity, at least in DJ's imaginative mind.

Nevertheless, his parents (voices of CATHERINE O'HARA and FRED WILLARD) don't pay heed to his findings and are leaving him under the care of teen babysitter Zee (voice of MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL) while they're gone overnight. Once they're gone, she orders him to his room so that she can hang out with her boyfriend Bones (voice of JASON LEE), leaving DJ and his friend Chowder (voice of SAM LERNER) to their own devices.

That eventually results in Chowder's basketball ending up on Nebbercracker's lawn. The old man comes storming out and grabs DJ, but then seemingly keels over from a heart attack. Thinking there's nothing to fear now, Chowder crosses the lawn, only to have the house try to eat him, and both later save young candy seller Jenny (voice of SPENCER LOCKE) from suffering a similar fate.

With little outside help -- especially from bumbling cops Officers Lister (voice of NICK CANNON) and Landers (voice of KEVIN JAMES) -- the intrepid trio attempt to figure out the story behind the house. With part of that having to do with Nebbercracker's wife Constance (voice of KATHLEEN TURNER), the kids continue on their quest, all while trying to avoid the haunted abode and its attempts to stop them.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DJ is a young boy who's certain the house across the street is haunted. After its owner seemingly dies, he and two other kids try to find out if that's true, all while having to deal with its attempts to kill them. He's also awkward around Jenny.
  • CHOWDER is his best friend who accompanies him on his quest, all while also being awkward around Jenny.
  • JENNY is their new friend, a more mature and confident girl who gets caught up in an unexpected situation while going door to door selling candy.
  • HORACE NEBBERCRACKER is the mean and cantankerous old man who lives in the haunted house and chases away anyone who gets on his lawn (but he has a hidden, less sinister reason for doing so).
  • ZEE is the teen babysitter who has no interest in watching DJ and would rather hang out with her boyfriend.
  • BONES is her Goth style boyfriend who drinks beer and makes an unwelcome advance on her.
  • OFFICER LISTER and OFFICER LANDERS are the two bumbling cops who don't believe the kids until it's too late for them.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this animated comedy/horror flick that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of one minor expletive, while some colorful phrases and mostly benign, sexually related talk is also present. A teen tries to fool around with his girlfriend on a couch, and then calls her a prude when she tells him to stop. Other bad attitudes are also present.

    Various scenes and visuals (especially those regarding a haunted house that comes to life, looks like a monster and chases after some kids, as well as the presence of its angry and mean-looking owner) along with various moments of peril may be unsettling, suspenseful or downright frightening to some younger viewers (but older ones will likely find all of it as thrilling fun). Some of that material involves violence (including a battle between the house and the kids at the end, as well as the house snatching various people into its "mouth" - although we see that all of them are unharmed at the end).

    Some behavior may be enticing for some kids to imitate, while a teen drinks what looks like beer and acts intoxicated (and a police officer takes a swig of cold medicine when he comes across it). Some crude humor is present (verbal and some brief material about bottled urine), while there's material about a man's wife dying long ago - partially seen in flashback -- and him now having to say goodbye to her spirit for the last time).

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, an extreme amount of camera movement (sweeping shots, spin around shots, etc.) occurs in the film and could make such viewers queasy.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Zee's boyfriend drinks what appears to be a beer in DJ's house, and then has another outside it while walking over toward Nebbercracker's place and seems a bit intoxicated.
  • Trying to impress Jenny after having already hung up with his dad, Chowder fakes telling his father off, "Why don't you kiss my hairy butt?" and then turns and asks DJ if he has any beer.
  • When Officer Landers discovers a bunch of cold medicine, he then takes a swig from one bottle.
  • After Jenny comments on Nebbercracker's basement filled with kids' toys and such, she says this is where he kept his stash, prompting Chowder to reply (jokingly) "Stash" (a possible drug reference).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After Nebbercracker has seemingly died on him, DJ says he's going to vomit and makes a sound like he's going to, but Zee then shows up and he stops.
  • DJ tells Zee that he and Chowder haven't left his bedroom (while staking out Nebbercracker's house all night), adding not even to pee. He then points out a bottle half-filled with urine and tells Zee not to drink it.
  • After Jenny discovers the boy's urine filled bottle, she asks if it's pee and the boys claims it the other's.
  • A dog squats to do its business on Nebbercracker's lawn, but the tongue-like skinny carpet whips out, grabs the dog, and yanks it inside the house.
  • Skull states that he once played a video game for four days straight, using various things to help him do so, including an adult diaper.
  • Skull tells the kids that they make him want to throw up in some tin foil and then eat it.
  • We see very old computer game animation where a character controlled by Skull uses a sword to kill various monsters (and some crudely rendered - and blocky -- blood is seen).
  • After being spit out of the house in some watery substance, Chowder asks, "Did we just get upchucked?"
  • We see a dog urinate on a Jack-O-Lantern, thus extinguishing the flame inside it.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Nebbercracker is mean and angry with anyone who crosses his lawn or visits his house (although we later learn why and there's a good reason as he's trying to protect others from the haunted house that wants to harm others).
  • DJ spies on Nebbercracker and his activities, including taking photos of him through a telescope.
  • DJ's father jokingly says that when he was a kid, he spied on two twins girls with binoculars (as compared to his son watching Nebbercracker through a telescope).
  • Zee has a bad attitude toward babysitting DJ, especially when she realizes his parents are already gone. Accordingly, she purposefully drops and breaks a potted plant and then pushes him backwards to make him go to his room.
  • Zee's boyfriend has a jerk-based bad attitude toward DJ, including taking his stuffed animal from him, exaggeratedly kissing it French kiss style and then tearing out some of the stuffing.
  • As DJ comes downstairs in his house, he hears Zee and her boyfriend and it sounds like he's coming on to her (with her telling him to cut it out, etc.). They then nearly kiss, but he pulls back before playfully wrestling with her and both fall to the floor out of the camera shot. He then gets mad when she won't continue and calls her a prude when she kicks him out.
  • Some viewers might not like Jenny half-jokingly asking DJ and Chowder if they're mentally challenged and then adding that if so, she's certified to teach them baseball.
  • Trying to impress Jenny after having already hung up with his dad, Chowder fakes telling his father off, "Why don't you kiss my hairy butt?" and then turns and asks DJ if he has any beer.
  • Officer Landers refers to the kids as "A bunch of tater-tots hopped up on pixie sticks."
  • Hoping to tranquilize the monster house, DJ tells Chowder that the latter should steal cold medicine for that purpose from his father's pharmacy. We then see Chowder shoplifting a bunch and then running out of the store with it.
  • Officer Lister tells the kids that he'll shoot them (said in an overeager, rookie manner for comedy on the film's part).
  • Office Lister calls Chowder (who's somewhat chubby), "Porky."
  • It's stated that Nebbercracker killed and ate his wife, but we later learn that isn't true.
  • We see a flashback to Nebbercracker's future wife being a sideshow act in a circus ("Constance the Gigantess") and she has tomatoes or something similar thrown at her (some hit her). We also see that she's kept in a cage at night (but young Nebbercracker frees her).
  • We see a flashback to young kids throwing rocks or eggs at Nebbercracker's wife at their house.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers, but older ones won't likely have any problem, especially since much of the material (particularly in the film's first half is played for dark comedy).
  • Nebbercracker's house initially looks like a typical haunted house, with windows that could be eyes and a door like a mouth.
  • The camera follows a leaf toward Nebbercracker's house and then goes just inside the front door where we see glowing eyes.
  • Nebbercracker then comes out of the shadows and looks like a scary old man as he yells at a young girl for being on his lawn. She then runs off and he yanks the front wheel off her tricycle.
  • As DJ's parents back up in their car, we see a masked Chowder fall down behind the car as if hit (but he ran into the car and not vice-versa, is okay, and it's played for laughs).
  • Chowder's basketball ends up in Nebbercracker's yard and both he and DJ are scared to retrieve it. DJ eventually gets up the courage and runs for it, but Nebbercracker comes out of the front porch shadows, runs at DJ, and then grabs him by the arm, yelling at him. He then picks him up, but seems to have a heart attack and then collapses to the ground on top of DJ (they end up face to face). The rescue squad then shows up and wheels Nebbercracker away, but the grass in his yard grabs one of the gurney's wheels and yanks it off, sucking it down into the ground.
  • We see an interior view of Nebbercracker's house where the glass in a window slowly cracks and a fire starts and then burns all of the time in the fireplace (seen from the chimney).
  • As DJ sleeps, we see a shadow flow into his room, take the shape of Nebbercracker's house on the floor (with glowing windows as eyes) and then grow up into a large claw that goes toward him, but the phone rings and DJ wakes up from his nightmare. When he answers the phone, there's a creepy sound coming from it, and then again when it rings after he hangs up. When he returns the call, he can hear the phone ringing in Nebbercracker's house (but the man is supposedly dead at this point). As we see DJ looking out the window, we then see part of a figure sneaking up on him from behind, but it turns out to be Zee's boyfriend playing a joke on him wearing a monster mask.
  • Zee's boyfriend sees his childhood kite in Nebbercracker's house. Lured by the sight, he goes over but is then yanked into the dark interior (played for comedy).
  • DJ slowly goes into a construction zone where a lake has been drained, thus leaving a huge hole with a steep drop-off, and he nearly falls into it. Chowder then playfully scares him by blowing the horn on a bulldozer.
  • Not worried since he thinks Nebbercracker is dead, Chowder playfully crawls across his lawn toward the house to show DJ there's nothing to worry about. But we see the grass swallow up a beer bottle on the lawn and the house then comes alive, with its windows looking like eyes, its front door like a mouth with broken wood slats as sharp teeth, and a long skinny rug as a tongue that comes after Chowder. He and DJ then just manage to escape.
  • The boys try to stop Jenny from going up to Nebbercracker's house, but she continues anyway and is then nearly captured as parts of the sidewalk lift her up and pass her from one piece to the next toward the house. The boys then end up saving her just in the nick of time.
  • The house tries to use Chowder's lost basketball as bait to lure him in.
  • Thinking it might be a sign on a video game console at the conclusion of a game, the kids see a crudely animated skull on the screen and the words "Thou art dead."
  • As Officers Landers and Lister slowly make their way around Nebbercracker's house, a tree branch grabs the gun from the rookie cop's hand and then snatches him up into the air where it swings him around before throwing him in the house, which is where the other cop ends up after being grabbed as well. A large claw-like tree trunk then picks up the cops' car (containing Jenny and the boys) and thrashes it about before sending it inside the house toward a huge hole in the floor (where the broken floorboards look like teeth in a gaping mouth). The kids manage to scramble out of the car just before it's "swallowed."
  • They then realize the house is "asleep" and thus slowly make their way through it, trying to be quiet but accidentally making noise.
  • The kids shoot (with water guns or something similar) a hanging, glowing bag of lights that then activate the house. A huge, gaping hole opens in the floor (with broken floorboards looking like sharp teeth) and something body-shaped is spit out from that hole. A beam of sunlight then comes into the house and looks around, with the kids trying to hide from it.
  • The kids slowly walk through the dark house, but then all end up falling through a hole in the floor down into the basement (that initially seems a long way down, and we don't see the impact, but they're all okay).
  • DJ opens a cage in the basement and finds a large body-shaped object, covered in cement on the floor. He then ends up tripping and falling to the cement mold, coming face to face with it. It then cracks open to reveal a woman's skeleton beneath it. The kids panic and try to get out, but various springs come down from the ceiling and grab Chowder, air ducts (looking like monstrous worms) come after Jenny and suck her into one, and DJ tries to race up the stairs as they come alive and try to get him. Back up on the main floor, Chowder ends up falling into a large hole in the floor, the long rug has DJ, and they and Jenny end up being swallowed. Water or something similar then fills around them until they're blasted out of the house and onto the lawn (where they're dazed but okay).
  • An ambulance nearly hits Chowder.
  • We see a flashback to Nebbercracker's wife falling backwards into a construction pit followed by a huge amount of wet cement (with the implication being that she died from the fall and was then buried under the cement).
  • The monster house, with huge tree trunks as "limbs," lumbers after the kids and Nebbercracker. It's very menacing looking and could be quite scary to younger kids.
  • Chowder uses a bulldozer to attack the much larger monster house that's followed the kids and Nebbercracker to the edge of a huge construction pit. DJ and Jenny end up tumbling down inside the hole, with Chowder continuing to battle the house but being pushed back toward the edge of the pit.
  • DJ climbs up a very tall construction crane structure and then out onto the crane arm itself where he hopes to drop dynamite down into the house. At the same time, Chowder continues to battle the house, but ends up dangling above the pit into which he then falls and barely avoids falling glass panels from hitting him. The house then falls into the pit and is seemingly destroyed, but then comes back to life.
  • The monster house lumbers after Chowder who's now on foot and it picks him up by his "cape," but Chowder falls back to the ground. Meanwhile, DJ falls from the crane arm down to the line hanging from it and swings around on that, scooping up Chowder while dropping dynamite down into the house's chimney (and the house then explodes).
  • Note: At the end of the film and during the closing credits, we see that all that were "eaten" by the house (including a dog) are fine after it's been destroyed.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Officer Lister pulls out his handgun to try to impress and/or intimidate the kids, and later has it pulled when he slowly makes his way around the house (but a tree branch snatches it from his hand).
  • We see very old computer game animation where a character controlled by Skull uses a sword to kill various monsters (and some crudely rendered - and blocky -- blood is seen).
  • Officer Lister tells the kids that he'll shoot them (said in an overeager, rookie manner for comedy on the film's part).
  • The kids find boxes of explosives in Nebbercracker's house.
  • A wad of dynamite explodes inside a house, destroying it.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You're a dork," "My nose is in my brains," "Happy Halloween doofus," "You lie," "I'm creeped out," "Awesome," "Shut up," "You're really crazy right now," "Freaking out," "Let's cut the crap," "What are you two weirdoes up to?" "Losers," "Are you guys mentally challenged? (followed by "If so, I'm certified to teach you baseball"), "I'm having lots and lots of puberty," "Why don't you kiss my hairy butt?" "Total moron," "A bunch of tater-tots hopped up on pixie sticks," "Thou art dead" (seen written), "Dummy," "Are you nuts?" "Porky," "You have the right to shut up," "Jughead," "Holy moly," "Did we just get upchucked?" "You're gonna wuss out," "How lame can you get?" "I suck," "Get your grubby branches off the old man," "The screw-up," "You ain't nothing. You're a shack...an outhouse" and "No biggee."
  • DJ spies on Nebbercracker and his activities, including taking photos of him through a telescope.
  • Zee's boyfriend has a jerk-based bad attitude toward DJ, including taking his stuffed animal from him, exaggeratedly kissing it French kiss style and then tearing out some of the stuffing.
  • Trying to impress Jenny after having already hung up with his dad, Chowder fakes telling his father off, "Why don't you kiss my hairy butt?" and then turns and asks DJ if he has any beer.
  • Chowder places his hand under his armpit and makes farting noises (while referring to authority).
  • Hoping to tranquilize the monster house, DJ tells Chowder that the latter should steal cold medicine for that purpose from his father's pharmacy. We then see Chowder shoplifting a bunch and then running out of the store with it.
  • The kids try to sneak up on the house inside or behind trashcans.
  • We see that the kids have created a dummy to use on the house, complete with a mask and the "body" attached to a vacuum cleaner that, when plugged in, will advance toward the house.
  • When Officer Landers discovers a bunch of cold medicine, he then takes a swig from one bottle.
  • After Jenny figures out the house is a being and points out the "teeth" and "tongue," she says that a hanging bag of lights must be the uvula. Chowder then replies that it's a "girl" house, but Jenny explains what an uvula is.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A window shade suddenly goes up in Nebbercracker's supposedly empty house.
  • DJ slowly goes into a construction zone where a lake has been drained, thus leaving a huge hole with a steep drop-off, and he nearly falls into it. Chowder then playfully scares him by blowing the horn on a bulldozer.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous, suspenseful, and scary music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 crap and at least 8 uses of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • DJ's father jokingly says that when he was a kid, he spied on two twins girls with binoculars (as compared to his son watching Nebbercracker through a telescope).
  • As DJ comes downstairs in his house, he hears Zee and her boyfriend and it sounds like he's coming on to her (with her telling him to cut it out, etc.). They then nearly kiss, but he pulls back before playfully wrestling with her and both fall to the floor out of the camera shot. He then gets mad when she won't continue and calls her a prude when she kicks him out.
  • When Zee wonders aloud what happened to her boyfriend, Chowder tells her, "Your boyfriend was eaten alive" (literally, referring to Nebbercracker's house) prompting Zee to angrily state some other girl's name (which could be a possible sexual reference).
  • Trying to impress Jenny, DJ tells her that he's "having lots and lots of puberty."
  • While scared, Chowder puts his hand on Jenny's knee and says he's always loved her, but she gives him a look and he removes his hand.
  • After Jenny figures out the house is a being and points out the "teeth" and "tongue," she says that a hanging bag of lights must be the uvula. Chowder then replies that it's a "girl" house, but Jenny explains what an uvula is.
  • Chowder says something about "she grabbed my butt," referring to Jenny when she says goodbye to him and DJ.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Nebbercracker has to say goodbye to his long deceased wife (now a spirit) for the last time.
  • We briefly see Nebbercracker dancing with his wife's ghost before she wafts away.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Haunted houses.
  • Mean neighbors.
  • Spying on and gossiping about others.
  • As DJ comes downstairs in his house, he hears Zee and her boyfriend and it sounds like he's coming on to her (with her telling him to cut it out, etc.). They then nearly kiss, but he pulls back before playfully wrestling with her and both fall to the floor out of the camera shot. He then gets mad when she won't continue and calls her a prude when she kicks him out.
  • We see a flashback to Nebbercracker's future wife being a sideshow act in a circus ("Constance the Gigantess") and she has tomatoes or something similar thrown at her (some hit her). We also see that she's kept in a cage at night (but young Nebbercracker frees her).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Nebbercracker then comes out of the shadows and looks like a scary old man as he yells at a young girl for being on his lawn. She then runs off and he yanks the front wheel off her tricycle.
  • As DJ's parents back up in their car, we see a masked Chowder fall down behind the car as if hit (but he ran into the car and not vice-versa, is okay, and it's played for laughs).
  • Chowder throws a basketball that ricochets off the hoop and hits him in the face, knocking him down.
  • Chowder's basketball ends up in Nebbercracker's yard and both he and DJ are scared to retrieve it. DJ eventually gets up the courage and runs for it, but Nebbercracker comes out of the front porch shadows, runs at DJ, and then grabs him by the arm, yelling at him. He then picks him up, but seems to have a heart attack and then collapses to the ground on top of DJ (they end up face to face). The rescue squad then shows up and wheels Nebbercracker away, but the grass in his yard grabs one of the gurney's wheels and yanks it off, sucking it down into the ground.
  • Zee has a bad attitude toward babysitting DJ, especially when she realizes his parents are already gone. Accordingly, she purposefully drops and breaks a potted plant and then pushes him backwards to make him go to his room.
  • Zee's boyfriend sees his childhood kite in Nebbercracker's house. Lured by the sight, he goes over but is then yanked into the dark interior (played for comedy).
  • Fighting over Jenny, DJ and Chowder take turns shoving the other backwards (played for laughs).
  • A dog squats to do its business on Nebbercracker's lawn, but the tongue-like skinny carpet whips out, grabs the dog, and yanks it inside the house.
  • We see very old computer game animation where a character controlled by Skull uses a sword to kill various monsters (and some crudely rendered - and blocky -- blood is seen).
  • As Officers Landers and Lister slowly make their way around Nebbercracker's house, a tree branch grabs the gun from the rookie cop's hand and then snatches him up into the air where it swings him around before throwing him in the house, which is where the other cop ends up after being grabbed as well. A large claw-like tree trunk then picks up the cops' car (containing Jenny and the boys) and thrashes it about before sending it inside the house toward a huge hole in the floor (where the broken floorboards look like teeth in a gaping mouth). The kids manage to scramble out of the car just before it's "swallowed."
  • When Nebbercracker returns from the hospital, Chowder thinks he's a zombie and thus throws rocks at him.
  • We see a flashback to Nebbercracker's future wife being a sideshow act in a circus ("Constance the Gigantess") and she has tomatoes or something similar thrown at her (some hit her).
  • We see a flashback to young kids throwing rocks or eggs at Nebbercracker's wife at their house.
  • We see a flashback to Nebbercracker's wife falling backwards into a construction pit followed by a huge amount of wet cement (with the implication being that she died from the fall and was then buried under the cement).
  • Chowder uses a bulldozer to attack the much larger monster house that's followed the kids and Nebbercracker to the edge of a huge construction pit. DJ and Jenny end up tumbling down inside the hole, with Chowder continuing to battle the house but being pushed back toward the edge of the pit.
  • DJ climbs up a very tall construction crane structure and then out onto the crane arm itself where he hopes to drop dynamite down into the house. At the same time, Chowder continues to battle the house, but ends up dangling above the pit into which he then falls and barely avoids falling glass panels from hitting him. The house then falls into the pit and is seemingly destroyed, but then comes back to life.
  • The monster house lumbers after Chowder who's now on foot and it picks him up by his "cape," but Chowder falls back to the ground. Meanwhile, DJ falls from the crane arm down to the line hanging from it and swings around on that, scooping up Chowder while dropping dynamite down into the house's chimney (and the house then explodes).



  • Reviewed June 19, 2006 / Posted July 21, 2006

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