"No Place for Grace"
What You Need To Know:
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 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, and talking about adult diapers.
(PaPaPa, OOO, LL, VV, S, A, D, MMM) Very strong pagan worldview with very strong occult content where the spirit of a dead person possesses a house and plot problem solved by materialistic means with no prayers but several profanities; four obscenities, seven profanities from the mouths of children, and children urinate in bottles, house vomits, and other scatological humor such as children talk about adult diapers; lots of scary violence, but in a cartoon format, including man apparently dies on top of little boy with heart attack, house devours dog, policemen, a man from a rock group, and young children, trees grab and beat children and police officers, stairs and railings and other parts of a house grab and beat children, child and woman fall into open pit, bulldozer with child in it falls into open pit, children throw dynamite, rocker tears up toy; no sex shown but light discussions of sex; no nudity; alcohol use; drug use; and, young girl enters into conspiracy with babysitter to defraud parents, babysitter and boyfriend mock parents, babysitter breaks vase to intimidate boy saying she's going to blame it on him, woman kept in cage, people throw tomatoes and eggs at woman in cage, direct conservative/libertarian slam at government by kids, and stealing drugs from a pharmacy to drug evil house.
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.