OK, I gotta say this.
I took my daughter to see "Monster House" on Saturday. It's rated PG, and the previews looked cute- kids investigating a scary house, some really funny moments.
What a mistake it was to see this film, and what a huge mistake to take a five year old to it! What begins (slowly- it took a good ten minutes to get the story off the ground) as a cute, kids-must-be-heroes story about an allegedly haunted house in the neighborhood devolved into an ugly parable about victimization and vengeance.
SPOILER ALERT!! Plot details to follow.
The story is this: a boy on the verge of "puberty" (they use the word in dialogue several times- what talented screenwriters!) has been keeping an eye on the dilapidated house across the street. The house is owned by a notoriously nasty old man. Anything that lands on his precious lawn, he confiscates.
The boy comes to believe there's more to the story, and he and two pals realized the house is actually alive. They accidentally confront the old man. He has some kind of attack and is carted off in an ambulance. The kids think they've killed him.
Long story short; the kids get inside the house. They find, first, wedding photos of the old man and a very fat wife. Then, in the basement, they find the grave of the wife. Old man, not dead (duh) returns, tells the story: when he was young he fell in love with a fat lady in a freak show. He took her away from her miserable life, but she still hated kids. He starts building her a house, she attacked any kids who came near, she falls into the cellar-in-progress and is entombed in the cement. Her spirit possesses the house, the old guy tries to protect the neighborhood by scaring all the kids off. But since that's no longer working, he and the kids blow up the house.
So picture this: Saturday afternoon, kids in a movie theater, tiny voices piping up "What's puberty?" when they're not crying. Onscreen, one of the grimmest depictions of human nature and the afterlife in years. This is one movie that had no clue what it was doing or why, to say nothing of who their audience was. The nasty old man is voiced by Steve Buscemi, so there was at least one redeeming feature, and the comic sidekick was truly funny, so that's another. But that's it.
Give "Monster House" a miss.