A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Little Monsters includes some mildly scary and emotional moments, plus some examples of bullying, mean pranks, and some language ("s--t" and "Godammit"). Parents behave poorly, yelling at kids, and eventually the parents separate. The monster world that Brian enters is a place where no rules exist, which means a good deal of immature and chaotic behavior plays out. There are some major gross-out moments, like when Maurice pees into bully's empty apple juice bottle, and the bully later drinks the liquid.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Brian's (Fred Savage) family has just relocated to a new town, where he has no friends and spends his nights trying to drown out the sound of his parents fighting. Things start to go wonky around the house and he is blamed for them. But it's not his fault that the remote control is missing, or that his bike was left out in the driveway -- there is a devilish monster under his bed named Maurice (Howie Mandel) who is eager to bring Brian into his wacked out monster world. Through challenges and chaos, the kid and the monster forge a friendship that proves memorable to them both.
Is it any good?
For a movie about monsters, this flick has a bit of heart. It captures the loneliness of a kid who has moved to a new town and whose parents are in a bad way. But some of the arguments and cursing from the parents beg the question of whether their participation is really necessary to the plot of the film, or just an attempt to anchor it in a gritty reality.
Kids and tweens might appreciate the feisty and juvenile behavior that Howie Mandel's Maurice brings to the screen, but viewers who have seen Beetlejuice will see more than a little resemblance to Michael Keaton's famous ghoul. He does warm up as the movie progresses, but adults might find the characterization little more than an irritant with a penchant for pulling down people's pants. Thanks to the creepy sets, spooky masks, and Fred Savage's candid portrayal of an 11-year-old kid, this movie deserves a small spot in the comedic monster movie pantheon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about childhood fears. What scares you the most? Something hiding under the bed? What makes the idea of monsters scary? Did you find Maurice scary?
At what age is watching scary movies fun? Have you ever wished you hadn't seen something? How did you get the scary images or thoughts out of your mind?
- In theaters: April 6, 1989
- On DVD or streaming: April 6, 2005
- Cast: Daniel Stern, Fred Savage, Howie Mandel
- Director: Richard Greenberg
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: adult situations/language, violence
- Last updated: September 10, 2020
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