Monster High: Ghouls Rule

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Monster High: Ghouls Rule Movie Poster Image
Toy line characters teach tolerance -- and iffy body images.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 72 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This title intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

The story explores the effects of bigotry and making assumptions about a person's character based on his or her appearance. The characters learn to dismiss longstanding prejudices and relate to others based on commonalities. Peer pressure, family relationships, fitting in with peers, and bullying arise in the content, not always with positive outcomes. The movie's message to young girls about body image is its biggest problem, thanks to teens who flaunt lanky bodies that meet unrealistic specs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the characters come around and reach common ground by the story's end, but the road there doesn't bring out the best in all of them. Some lie, misrepresent themselves, and toy with the law (breaking into the school's security room, for instance) for their own gain. A teen frames an innocent person for vandalism she committed in an effort to aggravate existing animosities between monsters and Normies. On the plus side, Frankie spends most of the movie standing up to prejudices and trying to smooth out differences between the two sides. Adults are mostly shown to be unsympathetic or oblivious to the teens' plight. Stereotyping exists in an African-American-looking teen with a decidedly "street" dialect. Girls have uniformly unrealistic body types.

Violence & Scariness

Some peril, and an instance of a flying meat cleaver whizzing past a girl's head, but no injuries.

Sexy Stuff

Romantic relationships exist among the teens but on a fairly innocent level. Physical contact is limited to hand-holding and hugs. Girls dress in short skirts, tight tops, and teetering heels, and their movements are designed to draw attention to the curves in their twiggy physiques.

Language

Some name-calling like "nerd," "loser," and "freak," as well as "shut up."

Consumerism

This movie is based on a merchandise line from Mattel, and the characters have previously starred in movies and webisodes. Teens -- and girls especially -- are attached to their cell phones and mention "Critter," which it's implied is a nod to Twitter.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monster High: Ghouls Rule is inspired by a toy line from Mattel, so there's a strong marketing tie-in to consider for kids. The movie's messages about diversity, battling stereotypes, and overcoming differences are unmistakable, and the colorful cast of monsters and ghouls reference lore about vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the dark. Even so, there's nothing frightening about the movie or its friendly stars, so it's a viable option for kids who aren't quite ready for the scary stuff. Parents' biggest concern is likely to be what the female characters' twiggy, doe-eyed, made-up appearances say about body image, but if your kids (and you) can see past the exterior, they'll find a surprising diversity of personalities and positive traits like compassion, determination, and intelligence among the cast.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 year old Written bySarah W. March 3, 2018

"Dad, are you sure she's not adopted?"

I was extremely disappointed that I overheard this line while my 5 year old daughter, who we adopted, was watching this movie. Other shows (Doc McStuffins, Sofi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMaia1596321 November 24, 2012

Loving sister

My little sister loves this movie. She show it to all her friend. Her favorite person is Draculaura. She is daughter of Dracula.
Kid, 9 years old June 22, 2013

Great for kids

I love monster high ghouls rule the dolls are so cute and I love the movie if your kids love monster high they would love this movie

What's the story?

As Halloween approaches, the students at Monster High receive their annual warning to steer clear of the "Normies" because of longstanding conflicts between the two groups. But when Frankie (voiced by Kate Higgins) learns that the two used to celebrate the holiday together peacefully, she sets out to reunite them. Unfortunately, though, the Normies want nothing to do with the ghouls, whom they blame for a prank against their school. It will take a monster-scale compromise to get these two sides on the same page, but the end result could be a good change for everyone.

Is it any good?

MONSTER HIGH: GHOULS RULE tackles the issues of prejudice and tolerance in a pretty clever way. It illustrates for kids the importance of celebrating their own individuality while still being respectful to the same in others. The colorful cast of ghouls boasts diversity of both ethnicity and heritage (monsters, vampires, and mythical creatures all have a home here), and the effect multiplies when they come to accept and welcome their human counterparts. Along the way, there are examples of responsible and not-so-responsible behavior (breaking into an off-limits room of the school, for instance), but it all has a role in putting an end to the longstanding feud.

Parents of girls will take immediate note of the female characters' appearances and may fear the messages they will send about beauty. Although they're all cloaked differently, the teens' lanky understructures are similar, as is the style of their minimalistic clothing and outrageous footwear. Happily, though, these aren't two-dimensional characters, and if kids pay attention, they'll take more notice of the strong examples of friendship and acceptance that overtake the visual messages they're getting from the movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure. When do you notice instances of peer pressure in the story? Do you think you would have handled a similar situation in the same way? Why is it difficult to stand up for what you believe in when you're the only one?

  • Kids: How do the characters overcome their differences and forge new relationships? What roadblocks do they face in doing so? How do our patterns of behavior stand in the way of our reaching out to someone new?

  • Are you familiar with the Monster High characters? Where did you first see them? Do you like them? Do you have a favorite? If so, why? Does seeing them in a movie like this one make you more inclined to want the toys?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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