A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Magic Puppy (A Halloween Puppy) is from director David DeCoteau, a former B-movie director who makes purposely misleading films that feature cute animals on the cover that don't actually appear in the films. Most of the movie focuses on a woman who wants to rekindle her relationship with her boyfriend with a weekend away at a cabin but can't when he's turned into a pit bull (not the cute animal on the cover) by a magic spell. There's some light bullying involving a teenage son, an emphasis on fixing the mistake, and taking care of others but overall only a little footage of a dog who's really a man and nothing much in the way of cuteness.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Linda (Kristine DeBell) thinks her relationship with Ted (Eric Roberts) is in a rut, so she plans a weekend getaway to a cabin. But when her son, Adam (Evan Crooks), and his friend Molly (Stephanie Shemanski) accidentally turn him into a dog when they misread a magic spell, the weekend is ruined. Or is it? The teenagers buy some time and take the dog along while they hastily try to figure out how to correct their mistake.
Is it any good?
A MAGIC PUPPY (A HALLOWEEN PUPPY) may be the least awkward of the David DeCoteau experiments in misleading filmmaking. It probably uses the least recycled footage, the least awkward dialogue, and the least awkward transitions, and it does actually have a major plot point about a dog. That said, it's not the dog on the cover, and it's still bad. Whether it's so bad it's good is up to the viewer, who will have to watch scenes that are entirely too long, with every possible plot point spelled out painfully in advance. Bonus points for figuring out why Eric Roberts appears in all these films or why every bit of dialogue sounds like it was recorded in a garage. Plus, the magic is never really explained. That said, aside from a few bullies who get their comeuppance, everyone is incredibly well-intentioned here. Perhaps you too would do the same thing if your son turned your boyfriend into a pit bull for the weekend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's bait and switch. Why do you think this director has a different image on the cover from what's in the film? Do most movies seem to be similar to what the covers suggest? What do you think the message is, and why?
Why is it so important to follow the directions? Have you ever messed something up by not following directions? What happened?
How does this film compare to other films you've seen about magic spells?
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love animal tales
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.