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 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
- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.