The Strange House
By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Quirky teen mystery/horror tale has some scares, swearing.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teens and kids can handle more than they're often given credit for. Looks can be deceiving. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Boys and girls are shown to be equally brave and resourceful in solving a mystery.
Positive Role Models
Henrik, Ida, and Fritz demonstrate courage and teamwork in confronting ghosts and searching for clues. Henrik is unhappy to have moved to a small, rural town, but he ultimately understands the move was motivated by his mother's financial situation following his father's death and he gives his mother his full support. Neighbors, including a teen bully, aren’t especially welcoming to the new family.
Violence & Scariness
A family is told of a double murder and suicide that supposedly took place long ago in their house. The victims are buried in a cemetery next to the house. Ghosts appear, sometimes in a surprising or menacing way. Two brothers are regularly possessed by two other, dead brothers -- one is said to be a good ghost and the other bad. When they are possessed, including once when a group of teens holds a séance, their eyes turn black and they speak another language in a voice that echoes. A ghostly woman screams in someone's nightmare and slugs slide out of her mouth. A bully teases a new teen in town in one scene and punches his nose in another, resulting in a bloody nose which a female friend plugs with two tampons. A younger friend faints at the sight of blood. Henrik and Ida put themselves at risk when they sneak into people's houses, and they are chased through the woods at night by a man with a rifle, taking refuge in a cave that turns out to be treacherous for them.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens flirt and two kiss.
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"F--k," "s--t," "s--tty," "damn," "dumbass," "stupid," "shut it," "shut up," "piss off," "jerk," "heck," "dork," "Kraut" (derogatory term for Germans). The film was reviewed in German with English subtitles.
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Products & Purchases
Jeep, Instagram, Polaroid.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and smoke. A teen's mom comes home visibly drunk and says she won't drink Schnapps again. A kid offers her his mom's hangover remedy of water and aspirin. A teen spikes the punch at a community event and gives the drink to younger kids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the scares in The Strange House (Das Schaurige Haus) won't frighten older teens, but the murder mystery could be upsetting to younger kids. There are creepy ghosts and a couple of jump scares as well as kids possessed by other dead kids, which makes their eyes go black and their speaking get strange. Kids and teens appear to be in peril in some sequences, either by malevolent ghosts and shadowy figures, or because they have put themselves into dangerous situations, sneaking into houses and getting chased by a man with a rifle through the woods at night, winding up in a treacherous cave. Some of these scenes could be scary for younger viewers. The teens also show ingenuity, courage, and teamwork in trying to solve the murder mystery and confront ghosts and suspects alike. Two teens share one kiss and adults drink alcohol, sometimes to excess. A teen's mom comes home visibly drunk and says she won't drink Schnapps again. A kid offers her his mom's hangover remedy of water and aspirin. A teen spikes the punch at a community event and gives the drink to younger kids. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "s--tty," "damn," "dumbass," "stupid," "shut it," "shut up," "piss off," "jerk," "heck," "dork," "Kraut" (a derogatory term for Germans). The film was reviewed in German with English subtitles.
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Videos and Photos
The Strange House
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What's the Story?
Following the accidental death of her husband, Sabine (Julia Koschitz) moves with her two sons to a rural town in Austria to start a new life in THE STRANGE HOUSE. Teen Hendrik (Leon Orlandianvi) is angry to leave the city and his friends behind for a quiet rural town with poor internet connection. Little brother Eddi (Benno Rosskopf) is easier going, which may be why he's also the first target for the ghosts who apparently haunt the old house they've moved into. Eddi starts sleepwalking and speaking a foreign language in his dreams. When Hendrik meets local teens Fritz (Lars Bitterlich) and Ida (Marii Weichsler), he learns the history of the house -- local legend has it that a mother poisoned her two sons then killed herself there. The kids band together and decide they're going to figure out why the ghosts are still there and whether the real murderer was actually revealed.
Is It Any Good?
If you take this quirky movie from Austria as a kind of throwback to the goofy but not entirely scary teen-led mysteries of the 1980s, you may just enjoy yourself. The Strange House mixes silly humor, some of it quite local and much of it based in the character of nerdy Fritz, with campy terror, complete with possessed kids and comically creepy neighbors. But if you don't know this going in, the set-up could throw you off and give you the erroneous sensation you're in an actual horror film.
What gives the movie its retro feeling? It could be the innocence of the teens (including a budding romance with one chaste kiss), their relative independence to roam around town (think Stranger Things), and their multi-age teamwork in cracking the case (those meddling kids!). Or maybe it's the stereotyped baddies and single-mom family (E.T.-like). It might also be the synthesizer music that creeps in repeatedly. The combination works if you're open to it; if you're looking for real scares, you should look elsewhere.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether The Strange House is a horror film, or whether it fits into another genre or blends genres?
How do the teens show courage and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths in life?
What do you think was the significance of the slugs?
Can you locate Austria on a map? The village where the film takes place is on the border with Slovenia. Where could you find more information about this area?
- On DVD or streaming: May 14, 2021
- Cast: Leon Orlandianyi, Julia Koschitz, Marii Weichsler
- Director: Daniel Prochaska
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 19, 2023
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