Is ‘A Monster Calls’ Scary? Not For The Reason You Think

This holiday season features one of the most crowded fields at the movie theater in recent memory. In addition to the behemoth Rogue One, many other big films like Sing, Passengers, La La Land, and Assassin's Creed will try and pry viewers away from Star Wars. But perhaps the film that will have the most success in this task is A Monster Calls, which sees release on December 23. Based on the children's book of the same name, the film looks to be much darker than your average kids movie, but is A Monster Calls scary?

Despite its title and scary-looking monster (voiced by the oft-terrifying Liam Neeson, mind you), the movie doesn't aim to scare. More likely, you'll find yourself crying with sadness than covering your eyes in terror. The film's plot centers on a boy, Conor, whose mother is dying of cancer. He's also being relentlessly tormented by a boy at his school. And he is forced to live with his unkind grandmother. Basically, Conor's life sucks until he meets the monster who begins to help him turn things around. So even though the beast — who looks quite a bit like Groot from The Guardians of the Galaxy , to be honest — is powerful and kind of frightening in appearance, he is wholly an object of good.

If anything, the movie might be scary for some kids — but not because of the monster. For many children, the idea of losing a parent is perhaps the most terrifying prospect in the world, and this film confronts parental death head on. The fact that Conor's mother is long-suffering throughout the film and slowly dying only adds to the situation's horror. It's one thing when Bambi's mom dies suddenly, it would be far worse if Bambi spent the entire film watching his mom slowly fade away; which is basically what happens here.

Adults watching A Monster Calls will be fine, but some kids may get scared over the movie's themes. While the point of the monster is to help Conor deal with his grief and adjust to his new life, some kids may still be shellshocked by the circumstances that lead to the monster's arrival. And though adults won't be scared of anything in the movie, they may find themselves shedding a tear or two.

Images: Focus Features; Giphy