Monster House

This honestly isn’t the movie I thought I’d be doing as part of the October movies, but it’s one I grew up with. I remember when I first saw it on Cartoon Network, I was actually kind of surprised that it was allowed to air, considering the time it came out. I wasn’t used to seeing more than typically safe programs on that channel at the time. Monster House is….interesting. To start off, yeah, it’s creepy-looking. It was made by the same people who did the Polar Express movie, which was kind of known for it’s creepy cgi. This movie does a little better in that department, but it’s still a little uncanny to look at. The story, however, is still actually really good for a movie for it’s animation. The story follows a boy named DJ, who, after he believes he’s killed his crotchety old neighbor, finds the man’s house seems to have come alive and is out for revenge. Without spoiling too much of the plot, I can say that it is a fairly entertaining movie to watch at Halloween, and the plot may genuinely surprise you. There are a few issues I have with the movie, namely the presence of an annoying fat sidekick, a concept that was kind of outdated in the early 2000s, and really feels dated now. It wouldn’t be such an issue, except the character contributes very little to the overall plot, until the very end, and it honestly would have been extremely easy to just replace him with a different character. As far as potential triggers for the movie, I think the overall concept of the plot may cause a lot of concern for viewers. The house itself comes alive, eating those who trespass on it’s lawn or territory. If you feel anxious about scary imagery, which is very prevalent throughout the film, you might have a bit of trouble with this. The shots of the inside of the house are extremely creepy, and can be unsettling for some viewers. The house’s backstory, which involves the gruesome death of a woman drowning in cement, may also cause some problems as well. As I stated before, the CG is very creepy, and may take some getting used to, and certainly doesn’t help the unsettling images. However, like I said before, the story, as well as most of the characters are genuinely engaging, and if you’re a fan of Steve Buschemi, he does a fairly good job as the elderly neighbor. Overall, it’s an interesting movie, to say the least.

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Hellboy

Hellboy, directed by the visual genius Guillermo Del Toro, is adapted from the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. Due to the fact that it’s from the early 2000s, the cgi isn’t as fantastic as it could be, and we’ll see how the reboot of the series goes, but it still has a lot of Del Toro’s personal style when it comes to monster designs. To begin with, the introductory scene where the Allied forces try to stop the portal from opening, there are a few genuinely uncomfortable moments. For example, one of the characters is pulled into the portal, which is too small for his body at the time. Unfortunately, this means that his body is agonizingly compressed to fit into this tiny space. Throughout the movie, the various creatures, in spite of the early and imperfect cgi, do look genuinely frightening, and the idea of them harming a crowd at one point could be quite frightening. There’s also a bit of fridge horror at some points, such as the backstory of the main love interest involving her potentially burning a playground filled with children alive by mistake. Over all, many of the characters could be very troubling for younger or anxious viewers as well. For example, one of the followers of the main villain is a sawdust-filled, nazi samurai of sorts, who is near impossible to defeat. Most of the fear of the character comes with what we don’t see, as it’s implied most of his body has been completely altered by unknown and unseen experiments. The climax involves an eldritch being of a sort being summoned to earth, potentially destroying millions of lives in the process. Not to mention, the religious imagery, and the appearance of the main character may cause some severe discomfort for some. On the other hand, this is one of the best-looking superhero movies I’ve ever watched. Del Toro, as usual, has his own unique style that it’s very easy to admire. If you’re already a fan of the original comic series, or are interested in seeing a pretty cool-looking movie, I highly recommend it.

Fantastic 4 (2015)

Well, as strange as the original movie from the early 2000s was, this one somehow managed to be even stranger. The thing about modern superhero movies, which can sometimes be an issue, is that Fox seems very concerned with making their movies as dark as physically possible, both literally and figuratively. As far as potential triggers in this movie, I’d just like to start by saying, it never looks normal for Mr. Fantastic to have stretching powers, and it looks just as disconcerting in this movie as it always does. The cgi isn’t quite good enough to make it look normal, pushing it squarely into the uncanny valley. The stretching may make certain viewers very uncomfortable, as it reeks of body horror, and wouldn’t look out of place in a monster movie. Aside from that, due to how overly dull the movie is for the most part, there’s very little in the way of excitement up until the climax, where the villain of the movie, Dr. Doom, finally appears. He does kill several people using telekinesis onscreen, which can be a little jarring for some viewers, especially when you’ve been lulled into a false sense of boredom by everything else going on in the film. As far as I can tell, fortunately, the movie has very little in the way of anxiety-inducing moments, save for the extremely uncomfortable cgi stretching, and Dr. Doom’s introduction. However, I can’t exactly bring myself to recommend the movie either, as, in my opinion, it’s not really all that good. Which, honestly, is kind of a shame, since I remember really liking Fantastic 4 when I was a kid. I suppose it’s fine to watch if you want to give it a try, but it really lacks substance, and isn’t even worth seeing just to get freaked out by the rubber doll animation.

Catwoman

Catwoman, in spite of the fact that it’s supposedly based on a DC comic book character, and it’s pg-13 rating, is about as bloodless as a comic book movie could get. There is absolutely no gory violence in the movie, and the deaths are either offscreen, or shown with very little attention and fanfare. Two of the four character deaths involve simple gunshot wounds and scratch-marks, one involves drowning, and the fourth involves a very unrealistic look at falling off a great height. In fact, the main villain’s ability is that her skin can’t be cut, which would suggest a lack of blood or gore for her character. The death scene involving falling off a building is as most movies do it, with the character’s body just dropping and going still, and is barely reflected on. In the beginning of the movie, a brief moment where a woman supposedly with severe burn scars appears, but the CG isn’t quite good enough to make it look as disturbingly realistic as it was probably supposed to be. There are a few mentions of satanism in the opening credits, and quickly flashed by during a web search, but these have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and are only there to show the impact of cats throughout history. I would wonder exactly how a comic book film like this got a PG-13 rating with absolutely no violence, but something tells me that Catwoman’s outfit may have had something to do with it. Overall, Catwoman is very safe to watch for anyone with anxieties, but I honestly can’t recommend it as a good movie.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

TMNT 2014 is surprisingly easy to view, in spite of the childhood-scarring cgi that makes up most of it. Now, while I can pick on the cgi for the turtles all I want, that’s not what I’m here for. But, in all respects, TMNT is very easy to watch for when it comes to most anxiety triggers. The violence that does happen onscreen is almost entirely happening to cgi creatures, which are very easy to distinguish from the human characters. While there are one or two scenes that involve humans not covered by outrageously pointy armor being injured. During a scene where the Shredder is training, he snaps the hand of someone fighting against him, and does beat the crap out of him, but still in a way that seems very PG-13, as the movie is rated. A later scene involves a random mook being poisoned by mutagen. The mook’s skin then proceeds to be melted off his body as he dies, in a way that makes me wonder how on Earth that managed to be included in a Nickelodeon movie. The scene would probably scare a young child considerably, as well as anyone with anxieties about gore. As far as the rest of the movie, there’s a lot of blood that gets medically drained out of the bodies of the turtles, but the rest is mostly bloodless and without needless gore. However, I do recommend skipping past the gas-testing scene if you have a young child, or get queasy by that kind of thing.