There comes a time in every moviegoer's life when he stops arguing that children can handle entertainment far grimmer than what they're usually handed and starts asking things like, 'They're selling this to WHAT ages again?â?� I think I turned that corner during Monster House, an animated fable based on the beloved trope of the broken-down abode all the neighborhood kids just know is a hotbed of evil. This one really is, in ways that go far beyond the Halloween imaginations of Charles M. Schulz or even Tim Burton and straight into the realm of Stephen King: Though the movie is essentially a children's book come to life, it's rife with suggested murder, sexual innuendo and extremely adult revenge fantasies. There's no denying that Monster House is professionally assembled and contains a good amount of irreverent fun; as an adult, I dug a lot of it. Still, the sight of a senior citizen having an apparently fatal coronary right on top of a helpless kid is something I'm not sure I'd want my own tykes exposed to (were I to acknowledge their existence, that is). Plus, the flick is creepy even when it's not meant to be, thanks to the Polar Express team's penchant for making even the most innocuous humanoids look like they're suffering from some sort of glandular disorder. (PG)
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