A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Characters are attending counseling to save thier relationship; the movie (which was adapted from a book written by Christian authors) has a strongly moral message about marriage. Discussion of good versus evil. Some discussion of Satanism. Stereotyping of Southerners as creepy hillbillies.
Violence & Scariness
Some graphic violence, including multiple stabbings, shootings, and beatings. A character flashes back to a childhood incident in which they deliberately shot their father while hunting. Another character hallucinates that they're drowning, with intense imagery. Bloody wounds. The villain is burnt to a crisp by the supernatural power of goodness. Scuffling and fighting. Characters are held at gunpoint. Dead bodies are seen. Some discussion of a character's childhood sexual abuse, with some disturbing imagery.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this horror movie -- which was adapted from a best-selling novel by Christian authors Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti -- has adult themes like repentance, sin, and suffering. The violence isn't as over-the-top as in many other horror movies (much of the worst of it occurs off screen or against people viewers later find out aren't even human), but the film's tone can become fairly intense. The movie's moral message is strongly present -- the lead couple renew their marriage while being pursued by a psychopath -- and it's clear that their reconnection and intrinsic goodness are what save them. While there's not much in the way of inappropriate sex, language, or drug/alcohol content, there is some fairly stereotypical depiction of Southerners; the villains are all depicted as creepy, cackling hillbillies. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
House is a great demonstration of the fact that good intentions don't always make for good moviemaking. Character actor Madsen is the biggest name in the cast, and he seems to be sleepwalking through his scenes. Robby Henson's direction is fairly pedestrian -- at one point, he scares viewers by having a chicken flap into the frame -- and the film's final twist is both unexciting and an obvious, weary, dreary set-up for a possible sequel. If your kids are mature enough for horror films, they can watch far, far better ones than House.
Based on a novel by best-selling Christian authors Fred Dekker and Frank Peretti, House is an astonishingly derivative horror film -- borrowing images, ideas, plot points, and scares from movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, Don't Look Now, and the Saw series. The acting's fairly wooden, and the film's themes of redemption, sin, and salvation are buried under just enough grisly violence that they're more than a little difficult to make out -- or to take seriously. And the contrast between the nice-but-struggling couple (Jack and Stephanie) and the seemingly perfect-but-secretly troubled couple (Randy and Leslie) is entirely overdone. House also feels cheap -- made with bargain-basement effects (with Poland standing in for Alabama) and featuring cardboard characters.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.