A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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