Return to Halloweentown

Movie review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Return to Halloweentown Movie Poster Image
A cauldron of witchy magic and malice for tweens.
  • NR
  • 2006
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main character occasionally breaks rules, but usually for good causes. Her enemies tease, taunt, laugh at, and even enslave others, but they eventually get punished. The cast is largely white, though the main antagonists are Asian. The positive message of diversity is promoted through metaphor.

Violence & Scariness

One character is turned into a dog and kept in a cage. A few other potentially scary (but non-graphic) scenes, including spooky red fog and a monster with glowing eyes.

Sexy Stuff

The Sinister Sisters wear lots of makeup, dress slightly provocatively, and walk with sexy swaggers. They get a lot of male attention.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this made-for-TV tween movie contains a few mildly scary scenes including some spooky red fog; a deep, bellowing warlock voice; and a growling creature-monster with glowing eyes. Some strange-looking characters appear throughout the movie, including a friendly skeleton taxi driver, a drooling troll, and some hooded demon-like creatures. On several occasions the main teen character breaks or bends rules, though she's generally well behaved. The primary bad characters are three young women who wear tight clothing and heavy makeup and treat others very badly, including teasing and tricking them.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byThe coolest kid September 25, 2018

It was good

Ok first of all the recast was a terrible decision Kimberly J Brown was much better as Marnie. Second I didn't like how Aggie Gwen and Sofie were barely in... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 year old Written bycaribbeandream October 21, 2014

Great reboot of fun wholesome Halloween series

The good - At first it was strange seeing anyone other than Kimberly Brown play the Cromwell middle child, but I actually think Sara Paxton is a better actress.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFrogster March 11, 2009

I lost six brain cells watching this!

Seriously, I did. I enjoyed the second and third Halloweentown movies to an extent, but the 4th one, "Return to Halloweentown", was even worse than th... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byarthur16morgana June 9, 2011

Return to Halloweentown

Amazing movie.I really liked it.

What's the story?

When a witch graduates from high school, where does she go? To Witch University, of course. That's where Marnie Piper (Sara Paxton) heads in RETURN TO HALLOWEENTOWN, the fourth made-for-TV movie in the Disney Channel's successful Halloweentown franchise. But the path to higher learning won't be smooth for the young witch. And first she must convince her over-protective mother to let her go. Once independent-minded Marnie is off on her own, she finds herself at odds with the Sinister Sisters, a trio of vain, pretentious young women bent on making Marnie's college days miserable.

Is it any good?

This being Disney, Return to Halloweentown has very little for parents to worry about. Marnie is an earnest but relatable teen with good intentions. She has some typical tensions with her mother, but in the end turns to Mom for help. Embedded in the story are lessons about the danger of too much power, the benefits of working together, the value of diversity, and the virtue in selflessness.

Parents interested in the more subtle messages being communicated should be aware that mom Gwen (Judith Hoag) is a caricature of a stay-at-home mom who lives through her children. The conflict between Marnie and the Sinister Sisters treads upon the well-worn path of teen female rivalry, especially for male attention. And the outward sign that the Sisters are evil (aside from their scowls) is their heavy makeup and sexy clothing -- equating sex with sin, perhaps?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about school integration. Do you think it's a good idea to let non-witches into Witch University? Why or why not? How does this issue translate into the real world? Families can also discuss power and politics. Why did the Dominion want to take over Halloweentown? Why didn't Splendora Cromwell want to be queen? If you could have the power to control others, would you take it? Why or why not?

Movie details

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