The Dog Who Saved Halloween



Slapstick Halloween comedy with lots of potty humor.
  • Review Date: September 14, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

An argument could be made that the family works together to find out the truth about the "haunted house" in the neighborhood, but they solve this conundrum more through bumbling luck than actual teamwork.

Positive role models

The adults are bumbling and clumsy, the kids don't bring too much to the story, and the dog just contributes cutesy one-liners.

Violence & scariness

Lots of characters trip and fall. One of the crooks pokes his foot with a trash picker. Some mildly spooky Halloween imagery in a haunted house -- spiders, cobwebs, bats, etc.

Sexy stuff

When a blonde bombshell in a short skirt visits the Bannister family, both father and son are entranced by her beauty, staring at her googly-eyed while trying to flirt.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

At the Halloween party, adults ladle punch (that may or may not be alcoholic) into plastic cups.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this slapstick Halloween comedy has lots of potty humor. The bumbling crooks find work picking up dog excrement in the park, and the larger of the two crooks (who's also prone to flatulence throughout the film), at one point smears what could be either mud or dog poop on his face. There's mild farcical violence throughout, a brief scene with sexual undertones, and typical Halloween scary fare like lightning, bats, cobwebs, tarantulas, etc.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In this sequel to The Dog Who Saved Christmas and The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation, the Bannister family moves to a new street, where George Bannister (Gary Valentine) starts to suspect that their neighbor, Professor Cole (Lance Henriksen), is a mad scientist. Meanwhile, bumbling crooks Ted and Stewey (Dean Cain and Joey Diaz) have been released from jail, only to be given work by their parole officer picking up after dogs in the park. The Bannisters' dog, Zeus (voiced by Joey Lawrence), tries to help George find the truth behind the "Countdown to Zero Hour" timer that they spy in the window of Professor Cole's mysterious attic.

Is it any good?


For pure mindless entertainment, THE DOG WHO SAVED HALLOWEEN is as farcical, slapstick, and silly as it gets. The adults who appear the most in the film are doltish and clumsy, the kids don't bring much to the overall story, and the pets are there to say cutesy things and cover their eyes when the oafish adults get into jams. The haunted house is filled with all of the typical "scary" accouterments -- lightning, bats, eyes moving in framed portraits on the walls, and so on.


The characters are one-dimensional, and while an argument could be made that the twist to the ending promotes a positive message about what Halloween means for adults and kids, by the time that ending happens, the audience is so overwhelmed by slapstick, flatulence, and pets spouting precocious one-liners that it's almost impossible to imagine that message resonating.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about reality versus imagination. What was the difference between what Mr. Bannister thought Professor Cole was doing and what he was actually trying to do for Halloween? How can you test your assumptions before acting on them?

  • Was anything in this movie scary? What's the difference between things and people who might be actually scary and the monsters we see during Halloween?

  • What's so funny about potty humor?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 13, 2011
Cast:Dean Cain, Gary Valentine, Joey Lawrence
Director:Peter Sullivan
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild rude humor

This review of The Dog Who Saved Halloween 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

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

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

Teen, 13 years old Written byKinbJune October 28, 2011

An Annoying Time-Killer

Even for children, this film proves to be leagues beyond a minor nuisance to endure; not only will the most elementary of human beings be able to point out the flaws and discrepancies in motivation for characters and sanctity of an interesting or driving plot, they will be downright stunned by the termination of the film itself, left with a feeling of nasty and uncalled-for disgust for a film that shouldn't even have the power or jurisdiction to evoke such raw and sordid emotions in man itself.
Kid, 7 years old September 22, 2011

its a very nice movie

its a great movie you should buy your kid one its very great for your child


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

Star Wars Guide