Spooky Buddies

  • Review Date: September 20, 2011
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Common Sense Media says

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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 (who have smaller roles than the human children in this episode).


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.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byEluned December 2, 2013

Not for us

To be fair, we didn't watch this film the whole way through - my 5-yr old daughter wanted to switch it off. It's darker and scarier than I expected for a film rated U (I think). At one point, a clairvoyant dog (of course - what else?!) suggests using a ouija board. I think that's entirely unacceptable - that's the last thing I want my children to awaken an interest for! Alongside all that, I didn't really think that much of some of the acting - and the dogs' mouth movements are so slight they might as well not have bothered. I wish I hadn't!
Kid, 5 years old October 29, 2011

Disappointed Mom and Son

My 5 year old son didn't like this movie (he's almost 6) because it was "scary." He didn't like the mean, red-eyed dog, and was really disturbed by the puppies souls being stolen. He was so disturbed that he decided that our dog could no longer go outside. Disappointing.....
Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written byncst October 25, 2011

Surprised at the storyline

My husbands and I were surprised at this film when compared to the other "Buddy" franchise films. Our 4 and 6 yr old daughters were terrified of the Halloween hound and how it ate the souls of puppies!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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