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Parent reviews for The Spiderwick Chronicles

Common Sense says

Book-based family fantasy is magical fun but also scary.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 54 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 51 reviews
Parent Written bynicolasconnault February 7, 2010

Teenage mild horror, full of plot contrivances

This is a bit more than fantasy, there are quite a few bits that would qualify as mild horror, and some action scenes had me on the edge of my seat, which may be what teens are after, but would be too intense for smaller children. The story itself has some good elements, but the plot is contrived in many aspects. The hobgoblin is probably the biggest contrivance in this movie, solving "annoying" problems for the film-makers, such as giving "sight" to all the kids so they don't have to find more seer stones, and eventually killing the big baddy in one gulp. Another contrived part is the splitting up of the twins from each other, which occurs during the majority of the film. The parts where they are together are brilliantly done, but it is fairly obvious that it is technically very demanding, and was kept to a minimal. The movie is quite full of such convenient twists that do not add to the story but merely seem to be there to avoid major inconsistencies or technical problems. Otherwise, quite entertaining, although very predictable :)

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Positive Messages
Parent Written bykimcsw April 9, 2008

Should have been PG 13!

This movie is not appropriate for young children! Like another reviewer I am shocked that this movie got a PG rating! My friend and I took our sons to a summer showing at our county library and most of the elementary school age and younger children were crying, screaming in fright, or begging their parents to leave. The bloody slicing and exploding violence to adults, children, animals and fantasy characters was over the top PG 13! The twin boy whom is the main character and hero is the one of the worst role models of making good choices and caring about others I have seen in a youth movie based on a popular children's book series. The character doesn't seem to grow and just makes more and more dangerous selfish decisions during the movie that get others killed, tortured or injured.
Adult Written byMi3 February 2, 2011
Parent of a 3 year old Written byizzymommy May 13, 2010

WAY too scary for non-teen kids!

I cannot believe this movie was okay-ed for kids as young as 8. Are you serious? It definitely should have gotten a pg-13 rating with a strong warning for younger children. This is way too scary for kids younger than 13! Even I thought it was frightening!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byMonica100 January 31, 2014


I am outraged to read that parents are showing this movie to children as young as four! My children were forced to watch it aged eight at school as part of the curriculum and they were horribly scared! I simply cannot believe that schools feel that the content of this movie especially the scare factor and levels of violence are appropriate for children as young as eight! No winder we have problems in society!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byMary P. November 17, 2016

This is not meant for kids under 12.

Common sense forgot to mention that at the end of the movie the young boy see his father come home only to stab him with a huge kitchen knife in the chest. The father then turns into a monster, however, the boy stabs the father while he appears to be his father and not a monster. It is very shocking for children to see this. The girls in the party could only comment oh "Wow, I cannot believe he stabs his Father"! I so wish I would have read the reviews from the other parents before letting a group of girls watch this at my house. I normally only show things I have seen before, and I will no longer trust Common Sense to guide me on what is okay for my family to watch. I was sitting at the table and my jaw dropped when the scene happened. There is a lot of family fighting too. The whole movie is just not what young children should see. The boy also screams how he hates his mother and his sister is always picking on him and fighting with him. This is just not a good movie!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 4, 9, and 11 year old Written byjohnthree16 February 25, 2011
Its not the best movie in the world

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written by[email protected] February 25, 2009
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byHendo H. U December 27, 2017

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 7 year old Written byTomZ1265 June 10, 2009

PG for a reason

My 7 year old agreed this movie was "too scary" about 20 minutes in when there is something implied as scary, but invisible, attempting to attack one of the child characters. He isn't usually bothered by this kind of thing, so we were surprised but immediately turned it off and switched to something lighter. I later completed the film- excellent and I highly recommend for fantasy fans, but definitely much too intense for 7 or 8 yrs. I would probably hold off until he has read the book(s?) or even age 11 or 12. Next time I will pay more attention to the "why" of the PG rating; in this case "For scary creature action and violence..." I am also not a big fan of "kids of divorce" themes, and the father in this story let's down the lead child character, but I probably need to simply accept it and then discuss with my child.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bywendi April 9, 2008


Took my kids, aged 9 & 12. Great movie, as I am a fantasy fan. My 12 yr old loved it, got into the 'world' and was completely absorbed, not even fazed by the bits of blood and gore, just took it as part of the story. However, the 9 yr old had nightmares that night, and another night three days after seeing. Admittedly a bit of a tender soul, he found the scenes with the goblins too 'shocky' and the chase scene too intense. The fight where the kid stabs the Morgarath when disguised as the kids dad also bothered him. Just to give you some reference, he also didn't like Eragon.
Parent of a 10 year old Written byPouk69 October 28, 2017

Great fantasy movie to watch with some parents guidance

We just watched this movie as a family with our 10 year old daughter and all of us really enjoyed it. At the beginning, because of the setting (the creepy house isolated in the woods) the movie reminds a bit of an horror but very soon it takes a fantasy turn with little creatures populating the house and monsters (gobblins and an oger) on the outside trying to kill them. Any kid who has watched Harry Potter can watch this. There are some gory scenes but the blood is goblins blood (green) and no real people gets sliced or killed except for a scene where one of the twins is hurt in the leg and we see the wound (but not a lot of blood). Yes the main characters does some stupid things but he redeems himself. Now as for the scene where the oger impersonates the dad it could be a little bit tricky for a kid to figure out but adults watching should immediately understand that the reason why the kid character stabs him is because he tricks the oger with a question that only his dad would know the answer to. So he stabs him because he understands he is not his dad but the oger. Those who think there is a bad message here should watch this scene again. Nevertheless my daughter was a bit confused and she thought the (real dad himself was the oger but we explained to her that it was the oger that had taken the sembiances of the dad and she was fine with it so if you have children this age or younger it helps to watch it with them to explain this part. I am very cautious with what I let my daughter watch as she can be a bit sensitive but here there is nothing terribly scary or disturbing (mainly because it is quite simple to see who the bad guys and the good guys are, the characters don't have second motifs and there isn't any malice at play). So unless your children are afraid of goblins and mosters and that kind of things, I don't think you will regret watching this with them. The ending is very moving and I actually cried (in a good way).
Parent Written byjknoxwhite April 9, 2008
Parent Written byNewport M. January 22, 2018

There is a scene with a child stabbing his father

This is a great movie in many ways. Lots of magical creatures and a compelling narrative. My 8 year old son loved it. Well, all but five minutes of it. We watched it after checking the Common Sense Media rating as we always do, which said 8+. Unfortunately there is one scene where a child stabs his father in the stomach. It turns out the father is really the bad guy disguised as his father, and his son apparently knows this because the father says "I love you", which an adult watching the movie can assume is something this father (who we never actually meet in the movie) would never say. However, for an 8 year old this connection is not easily made and the moment where the son stabs the father is pretty horrifying. I am 44 and I was pretty taken aback myself. I would recommend either not watching the movie until your child is 13 or older, or fast forwarding through this part.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byStacey B. December 16, 2017
This is pretty good and appropriate movie for kids who want to start fantasy action movies
Parent of a 12 year old Written bymamamia0709 April 9, 2008

A must see for every fantasy lover

Adult Written byangela3 November 30, 2017

It was amazing my little cousin's loved it

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bySteve C. April 21, 2017

CSM is Wrong on this one

My son said it's like Walking Dead but scarier. He hasn't seen walking dead - other than a stupid commercial coming on while watching AMC during the day. Be seriously I put 18 to try and raise the average this is wrong and I'm shocked they haven't updated their ranking. Way more less scary and violent movies got hire scores.
Parent of a 5 year old Written byjennmccollum April 9, 2008

overrated flick with a misleading PG rating

We were surprised at the movie's gentle PG rating with so much violence. Two smaller children were taken out of the theatre when scarrier moments of the movie frightened them. Go forewarned. It is an OK movie, but warrants a steeper rating: PG-13
Parent of a 6 year old Written byAnnalu55 March 7, 2019

Horror movie

Storyline was thin. Overly violent for what the storyline was and could have been. Lots of sibling fighting. Boy saves the day, as always.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness