Monster High: Fright On!

  • Review Date: October 30, 2011
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 47 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Toy-inspired movie has strong messages but iffy body images.
  • Review Date: October 30, 2011
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 47 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

It's intended to entertain rather than to educate, but there are some feel-good messages about getting along with others, appreciating diversity, and standing up to peer pressure.

Positive messages

Viewers see a diverse group of teens overcome their differences and learn to respect and appreciate one another's uniqueness. There's some nastiness among some of the characters as they break into bickering cliques, and a couple of the girls use their popularity to manipulate others. Even siblings face off over petty matters, and peer pressure persuades best friends to side with "their kind" rather than each other. That said, happy endings all around ensure that positive messages come across for viewers. 

Positive role models

The teen characters allow outsiders to influence their feelings toward their friends, and in some cases, they turn on one another because of peer pressure. A central character is image-obsessed and self-centered, and she uses her popularity to control and demean her peers. A villain spreads paranoia and stereotypes among the teens to turn them against each other for his own motivations. In the end, though, all parties recognize their mistakes and repair their relationships in a mature manner.

Violence & scariness

A few characters are turned to stone.

Sexy stuff

Teens make their romantic relationships known, but physical contact is limited to hand-holding and hugging. The girls sport heavy make-up, and their skimpy clothing hugs their impossibly thin physiques and accentuates their curves.

Language

One use of "jerk."

Consumerism

This TV movie is inspired by a line of toys and books, and the characters also star in webisodes and online games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this TV movie is based on a product line of toys and books, and the animated characters star in multiple webisodes. Despite their monstrous heritage, there's little that's scary about these characters. The main girls actually embody admirable traits like self-confidence, loyalty, and the strength to resist peer pressure, although at times these seem to contradict their impossibly long and lean bodies, tiny waists, doe eyes, and balance-defying high heels. One teen in particular is exceedingly image-conscious and uses her friends' affection to her own gain for most of the story, but even she makes amends in the end. The movie's themes of tolerance, respect, and diversity are what will stick with kids, even if the visual images are a little misleading for girls in the audience.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

MONSTER HIGH: FRIGHT ON is a movie based on the characters from a successful line of toys, books, and a series of webisodes. Set in a unique school populated by the kids of notorious monsters like Frankenstein, the Abominable Snowman, and Dracula, the story picks up with the influx of heated rivals from neighboring schools, the vampires and the werewolves. Monster High's immersion policy is a tough sell on its polarized newcomers, and their mutual animosity eats away at the diverse student body's sense of unity. With the disappearance of their beloved headmistress and the overbearing presence of suspect Van Hellscream (voiced by Cam Clarke), it's up to best friends Frankie (Kate Higgins), Draculaura, Clawdeen, Cleo, and Lagoona to unravel the mystery and get students to see past their differences to save their school.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

At first glance, it's tempting to dismiss this movie as a Bratz-caliber B-lister based on the characters' resemblance to that first round of image-crazed girls, but you only need to scratch the surface to reveal a surprising amount of heart. They're not perfect, they can be petty, and they succumb to bickering with friends and siblings, but given enough time, they recognize when they're being manipulated by outside influences and have the strength to stand up against social pressure. Even the haughtiest among them makes amends for her mistakes and learns to appreciate the loyalty of each and every friend. Grade-schoolers will appreciate the movie's clever references to monster lore -- including Medusa's son, who wears sunglasses to keep from turning his classmates to stone, and Draculaura's vegan lifestyle that curbs bloodlust -- more than they will the positive messages, but it's a sure bet that they'll recognize them anyway.

It's unfortunate that these socially responsible themes are packaged in such questionable physical images, especially considering that the movie's bound to attract a host of girls too young to engage in the "older" monster dramas like Twilight. These impressionable viewers will get a skewed sense of beauty from the twiggy, coifed, high-heeled, made-up high-schoolers and their devilishly handsome and exceedingly mature male counterparts. The fact that it's a cartoon (especially one about monsters) makes it a little easier to pass it off as fantasy, but you've got to wonder what the designers have against realistic waistlines and proportional facial features. They're not as off-kilter as the Bratz girls because they've got more to offer than just their looks, but the subliminal messages are there nonetheless.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure. What examples of peer pressure did you see in Monster High: Fright On? Do you agree with how the characters handled it? Why is it difficult to stand up against a crowd? Have you ever had to do it?

  • Kids: Are you familiar with the Monster High characters? If so, where have you seen them? Does watching this movie make you more inclined to want to read the books or check out the website? How does the media act as an advertisement for the products that are related to characters like these?

  • What does "diversity" mean? Why is it important to respect differences among people? Are there any instances in which it's OK to segregate groups of people? If so, when? How can diversity strengthen a group? 

Movie details

DVD release date:July 1, 2014
Cast:Cam Clarke, Kate Higgins
Director:Audu Paden
Studio:Mattel Entertainment Inc.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:47 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Monster High: Fright On! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old December 16, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

amazing!

ok great show i loved it! i laughed a few times and it has a good message. it may seem to some of you parents who dont know what monster high is that it might scare them and be bad but its not scary at all. monster high is a doll line. that i love thats what MH stands for!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byGoodMan_21 November 15, 2011
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Monster high is an excellent selection for Saturday Morning Tv on CBS,new ideas are needed

Based on the TV Special on NIck, I strongly feel that Monster High should be an official Saturday Morning program on CBS as well as a weekly show on Nick or the Hub. The current Saturday morning slots for CBS,NBC,and ABC are undeniably dissatifactory in the sense that the kids are uninterested based on the rising numbers of activities and kids sports events. The Parent groups are need of new people and fresh ideas. Cartoon Network is on the rise,Nick,The hUb and other cable kids networks are rising at a high rate.Saturday Morning need to gear towards all age groups like they were for 5 decades. Time for change.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bySandi629 January 5, 2012
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

MONSTER HIGH fights against racism!

My daughter LOVES everything Monster High! Because of the way they look, I was a bit hesitant to allow them (we banned Bratz). However, this movie has a great message about inclusion, overcoming racism, and positive self-esteem. I agree that this would make a good weekly show!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism

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