A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Stresses loyalty to friends, trusting their judgment. "Friendship is stronger than evil."
Positive Role Models
Lead female character is brave, resourceful, loyal, and honest. Her buddies, gullible and too carefree at first, learn the value of trust and true friendship. Villains are supernatural and unredeemable. In addition to the leading bad guy, the few scenes with grown-ups show them to be foolish and/or oblivious to any real danger. Some ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Scares and spookiness continuously, all played straight but never meant to be taken seriously. Heroine and other teens face and/or are attacked by: vampires, zombies, beasts, witches, ghosts, demons. Lots of pop-out ghouls with fangs, blood-covered faces, a chain saw, and the like. Suspenseful scenes find characters in dark, shadowy places, in constant fear of confronting the supernatural entities hidden there. Ghosts fly; a coffin opens revealing a beast; a zombie eats a rat; two teen boys fight using martial arts. Nightmares, smoke, ghostly presences, and eerie sounds are frequent. Villains are consumed by fire.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirtatious behavior; a love triangle; some kissing. A female demon behaves seductively toward a vulnerable teen boy.
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"Gates of hell."
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Products & Purchases
Another entry in the R.L. Stine franchise of spooky books and films for tweens and teens.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that R.L. Stine's Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls is clearly intended for savvy kids who enjoy the creepy thrills of overblown monsters popping out from behind curtains, cartoonish demons who possess the innocent, and mustache-twirling villains of immortal proportions. Along with the usual teens-under-siege story line -- in this tale, they're all drawn to an ominous haunted house -- the array of ghouls is all-encompassing: beasts, vampires, zombies, witches, a macabre clown, ghosts, and a chain-saw-wielding giant. The heroes are chased, find themselves trapped in long shadowy halls, open a myriad of mysterious doors, are made to disappear, and fight for their lives against the onslaught of fiends who continually menace them. There's no real brutality here; it's all exaggerated gothic horror. Only the villains meet a ghostly end. To beef up the characters and the stakes, the filmmakers have included a sweet romance with a few kisses, a mildly sexy enchantress, and some teens struggling with their emotions and issues of conscience. Not for little ones. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The scare scenes go by fast, so there's no time to focus on the nonsensical plot and cheesy effects; still the game actors play it for real, so tweens may find it creepy-funny enough. Adults on-screen briefly are appropriately stupid so the kids have no one to reply upon but themselves, and as they do the consequences of their risk-all behavior just get bigger and bigger. By the time one of the teen victims is obviously possessed by a witch and no one in school but the heroine seems to notice, there's no pretense of logic left. The glorious array of monster masks and makeup can't hide the fact that under those costumes and headpieces, actors are trying to carry off freaky behavior by slouching, stomping, roaring, and trying to make art out of walking like a zombie. The filmmakers try to balance the frights with a sweet but predictable romance, and it does help to keep the heroes likable and relatable; from the start, they're easy to root for. As Halloween movies go, it's not much, but for the right audiences it will entertain.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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