Spooky Buddies Movie Poster Image

Spooky Buddies



Halloween puppy movie might be too scary for youngest kids.
  • Review Date: September 20, 2011
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

The dogs and their human companions are all about fighting against bad deeds using teamwork. There are also some lessons about following your conscience and not listening to those who don't respect you.

Positive role models

The kids and dogs help each other out. But most adults, including a teacher, parents, and authority figures, are portrayed as foolish, gullible, and inept.

Violence & scariness

The action and violence are exaggerated and intended as scary fun. Lots of creepy, dark, and spooky sequences, all accompanied by eerie music. A large, sinister dog with green eyes and a cackling warlock are the two villains who engage in all sorts of mischief: turning animals and people into stone, rats, toads, etc.; flashing lights and shattering glass; conjuring spells to overpower the town and townspeople; making things and people disappear. In addition, there's an eerie black cat, a swooping owl, a graveyard, a haunted house, a parade of zombies, and a ghost dog. Puppies and children are threatened, chased, captured, and fall under the villains' spell.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

A "powerful" dog fart plays an important part in the story.


Part of a popular Disney franchise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this entry in the Buddies series is intended as a humorous Halloween scare fest for kids. Though lighthearted and far-fetched overall, there are still many scenes that might be too frightening for the youngest audiences. this is a spooky story with lots of dark, ominous music and special effects, as well as two villains who are sinister evil-doers bent on power and mischief. The beloved "buddies" and their child companions are in exaggerated danger throughout. They're chased, threatened, captured, turned to stone, and, in some cases, they vanish. There are also pratfalls, visits to a graveyard, a haunted house, black cats, rats, zombies, flying villains, explosions, and fires. Some potty humor, too.

What's the story?

Seventy-five years have passed since the legendary Warwick Warlock (Harland Williams) and his partner-in-crime, The Halloween Hound, were foiled in their quest for ultimate power over the town of Fernfield. Now on this Halloween night, when the moon is full and the town is chock-full of holiday costumes and shenanigans, the villains return from the past. They need Warwick's special magic wand, his book of spells, and the souls of five puppies to cast their magic spell and finally accomplish their evil plan. But young Billy (Skyler Gisondo), his friends, and their adorable puppy buddies -- along with a mysterious grave-digger (Rance Howard) -- are determined to foil the Warlock and the Hound once again.

Is it any good?


Scarier than the previous "Buddy" movies, this Halloween-themed story of mayhem and black magic may prove to be fun for die-hard fans of the puppies. (It should be noted that the cute pups have smaller roles than the human children in this installment.)


But overall, this mildly entertaining, nonsensical tale with cheesy effects and amateurish, over-the-top performances by almost everyone has little sincerity and even less charm and humor. What's more, the film's inclusion of supernatural Halloween lore (ghosts, haunted houses, monsters, fierce animals, spells, etc.) may be frightening for very young or sensitive kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the differences between make-believe violence and real violence. What are some of the ways you can tell what's real and what isn't? What effects do movies use to make things scary? What real things frighten you?

  • Talk about the choices the characters make. Have you ever had to choose between obeying someone and doing what you know is right?

  • Billy and his friends didn't get any help from their teacher or parents. Is this realistic? Who will listen to you and pay attention when you have a problem?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 20, 2011
Cast:Harland Williams, Rance Howard, Skyler Gisondo
Director:Robert Vince
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Holidays
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Spooky Buddies was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bypjpjm February 6, 2012

Worst buddy movie to date.

We had watched all of the buddy movies and really enjoyed them, until this one. Unfortunately, I trusted that it would be enjoyable like the others and it was not. It was scary with no point. Our kids (7, 5, 5), hated it and we turned it off before we'd watched much at all. We then watched more after they'd gone to bed and realized quickly that it had no redeeming value.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bytwinangel December 28, 2011

I wish I had watched this before letting my daughter watch with me.

This is a very dark edition of AirBuddies. We watched this at my daughter's elementary school. I was glad to be there to reassure my daughter yet I had to spoil the ending for her because she was so concerned about the dogs. The beginning five minutes and last 20-30 mins are VERY intense for any kid under, at the very least, age 8. However, I feel with theme content this should really be rated for tweens not lower elementary. AirBuddies should have left this a light hearted tale since the plot is really geared to the preschool to lower elementary age groups. I did like that the kids were focused on setting things right once they realized what had happened 50+ years before. They were realistic in that not all kids are perfect and sometimes have the wrong attitude or perception of older people as well as their peers. Take out the intense spooky theme and this would make a great addition to my 6yo's collection.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 5 year old Written bycagey11 June 14, 2013

Too scary for young children... should be rated PG

This is the first "Air Buddies" franchise movie I've ever seen, and I have to say I'm disappointed at how intense it is, considering it's a G-rated movie. The aforementioned sucking of dogs' souls, the creepy wizard guy... I mean, really. My 5-year-old son thought it was pretty scary. Luckily, it sounds like the other Buddies movies are not as bad. I'm actually pretty surprised that the Common Sense Media review says this is appropriate for 6+. I'm thinking more like 10, maybe 9.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?