Australian Council on Children and the Media

Monster Family

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Not recommended under 7, parental guidance recommended 7 to 10, due to violence, themes and physical transformations that might scare young children

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Monster Family
  • a review of Monster Family completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 March 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended due to violence, themes and physical transformations that might scare young children
Children aged 7 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and themes
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Monster Family
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and animated violence
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Emma Wishbone (Emily Watson) is down on her luck: her husband Frank (Nick Frost) is always working or sleeping, her daughter Fay (Jessica Brown Findlay) is struggling through the difficulties of adolescence, her son Max (Ethan Rouse) is getting bullied at school and her bookstore is in debt.  Emma can’t even walk down the street without encountering a series of unfortunate events.  She accidentally makes a call to Dracula (Jason Isaacs) who, in a matter of moments, falls in love with her and determines to make her his vampire bride. Dracula bribes an ancient witch Baba Yaga (Catherine Tate) to transform Emma but the witch accidentally transforms the whole Wishbone family into monsters.

The Wishbones set off to find Baba Yaga in the hope that she will transform them back, only to find themselves banished to the desert and more alone than they have ever been before. Here they must face their fears, find the strength that has been theirs all along, and learn to love and accept themselves if they are to save not only their family but also the world.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family breakdown; bullying; the supernatural

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Dracula repeatedly grabs, hits and throws his three little bats around.
  • Max has his head plunged down a dirty toilet by a classmate who didn’t like his report. He is begs the boy to stop, and it looks as if there is diarrhoea splashed around the edge of the toilet bowl
  • Fay kicks and punches her brother during an argument. She then pushes him down the stairs.
  • The Wishbone family is thrown off a stage into a back alley.
  • Emma fights Baba Yaga while trying to convince her to change them all back into their human form. There is much slamming, punching, grabbing, hitting, falling and crashing while Emma tries to catch Baba Yaga and the witch tries to escape.
  • Fay hypnotises a nasty group of models who make insulting comments about her.  They then believe they are monkeys who are fighting for a banana.
  • Baba Yaga and the family fight over her amulet before Baba Yaga banishes the family to the deserts of Egypt.
  • Dracula throws Emma out of his plane after she refuses to marry him.
  • Emma gets really thirsty and wants to drink fresh blood. She nearly kills a man on a plane, a couple in the desert and her own husband, before she is able to stop herself.
  • An Egyptian mummy falls for Fay and transforms into a huge beetle that attacks Fay and her brother before Frank stops him.
  • The family works together to kill Dracula before he kills them all. Eventually they are able to burn him with sunlight.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The family is transformed into a vampire, Frankenstein, a mummy and a werewolf. They are all horrified by what has happened.
  • The boy that bullies Max at school is playing alone on a basketball court at night when werewolf Max decides to go and scare him. He hides in the bushes making horrible sounds and then pretends to attack while the boy runs away in terror.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The family has a fight in the desert and both children leave, going their separate ways. Emma then turns on Frank and orders him away. Both parents are very sad and both children are very angry.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may be worried by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Dracula talks about Emma being “his” forever, despite the fact that she is already married.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Vampire Emma wears extremely low riding pants that expose her bare midriff.
  • A group of bikini clad models are hanging all over Frank after he rescues them from being stuck in the desert. Their chaperone, also scantily clad, approaches them, telling them that she: “Will take it from here girls…” The camera angle is shot from behind her bare legs.
  • Dracula repeatedly tries to kiss Emma.

Use of substances

Dracula feeds Emma pills which work almost instantaneously to curb her thirst for blood. He forces another pill down her throat that has the opposite effect as he hopes she will kill her family.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • some name calling such as “stupid” and “idiot” and use of the word “crap!”

In a nutshell

Monster Family is a predictable animated adventure about a dysfunctional family who are transformed into stereotyped horror movie monsters. It is aimed at young audiences but is not recommended for children under 7 due to violence, themes and physical transformations that might be scary for young children. Parental guidance is recommended for the 7 to 10 year old group.

The main messages from this movie are that the power of love is far stronger than that of evil, that each of us is braver than we think we are, and that beauty comes from within. We don’t need others to tell us that we are beautiful because it is about how we see ourselves, not how others perceive us.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • loyalty and devotion
  • believing in yourself
  • determination
  • helpfulness

 This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Taking pills from someone that you barely know. Emma took pills from Dracula and while they helped her that may likely not be the case in a real life situation.
  • The true extent of bullying and the ongoing trauma and anxiety that it can cause. Max is severely bullied not only by peers but also by his sister, but no real consequences are shown. It is important for children to realize that they have a voice and the power to speak up in defence of themselves and others.

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