A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Open Season: Scared Silly is the fourth movie from Sony Animation about a one-antlered mule deer and a grizzly bear who are BFFs. Joining the fun with Elliot and Boog are comic buddies and enemies who provide adventure in the picturesque town of Timberline. The franchise, noted for its plentiful, funny potty jokes -- much ado about "pee," "poo," butts, "tushies" -- and cartoon action -- in this case, a hunt for a legendary werewolf -- maintains fast-paced comedy, quirky characters, and slapstick jeopardy. Shotgun fire from a cackling villain, falls over a cliff, a mine cart careening over a raging lava plain, and some comically grotesque versions of a werewolf will scare only very young kids who aren't ready to deal with make-believe danger. Aiming for all-out fun with a few messages -- "face your fear," "words can hurt," "friends are always there for each other" -- grown-ups may enjoy the witty humor as much as the kids with whom they're sharing this offbeat trip through the forest.
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What's the story?
Elliot (a mule deer voiced by William Townsend) and Boog (Donny Lucas as a grizzly bear) have another satisfyingly ridiculous adventure in OPEN SEASON: SCARED SILLY. On a dark and stormy night around a campfire, Elliott scares everyone with a tale of a terrifying local legend: the "Wailing Wampus Werewolf." Before you know it, the monster is spotted nearby ... or is he? Elliot, a self-proclaimed werewolf whisperer, is ready and eager to take the legend on. Boog is too frightened to care; all he wants to do is build a panic room and hide. Mr. Weenie joins the hunt, desperate to find his missing owners. And when Shaw (Trevor Devall), the villainous hunter of the earlier Open Season adventures, gets wind of the search, he sees a golden opportunity to have the town sheriff make hunting legal again. And so it is that the intrepid werewolf stalkers are themselves stalked by Shaw with his beloved shotgun "Lorraine" and two gun-toting accomplices. Mistaken identities, a poo-tracking scheme, and one operatic solo keep the action rolling merrily along.
Is it any good?
Talented voice actors, along with a clever story and script, make this very funny film a cut above most direct-to-DVD fare for kids and families. The characters are rich with quirks and idiosyncrasies. Even the villains sparkle with originality -- the two Canadians selling their native "poutine" (French fries with gravy and cheese curds) are stellar. Most kids love potty humor, and this movie excels at delivering it. The scares and monsters are ridiculous to the max. Only the youngest among them, those who aren't comfortable with cartoon action, may find this movie too intense. Other than that, there are enough laughs and silly skirmishes to entertain even the most discerning kids and grown-ups.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the action in this movie. What techniques do the filmmakers use to make this movie funny rather than scary? Think specifically about the way they present the various versions of the "Wailing Wampus Werewolf."
Find out what "anthropomorphic" means. Why do writers and filmmakers use this approach to tell stories that kids will take to heart? Name some of your favorite anthropomorphized characters.
Have fun creating your own animal character who behaves like a human. Which animal would you choose to represent you?
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