Monster High: Fright On!

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Monster High: Fright On! Movie Poster Image
Toy-inspired movie has strong messages but iffy body images.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 47 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.


One use of "jerk."


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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBigSister91 January 5, 2013

Gang War and Racism in a kids show?! Surprisingly well done...

This series is VERY shallow most of the time, encouraging stereotypes and gender roles to the point of being painful. I would not recommend it for the most part... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 10-year-old Written bySandi629 January 5, 2012

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... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byhowrselover January 24, 2012


good strong characters, fun story, lots of diversity, and it's all kid-friendly.
Kid, 9 years old December 29, 2011


i love it as you can see im a monster (both of monster high and lady gaga) and this is great! monster high is amazing. not like barbie they teach you to be urse... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Themes & Topics

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