Prime Video movie of the day: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an unforgettable adventure of monsters, magic and mayhem

Jared Grace reading an old book in bed while holding a torch in The Spiderwick Chronicles.
(Image credit: Prime Video/Paramount Pictures)

My nine-year-old self was both completely mesmerized and terrified when I first watched The Spiderwick Chronicles in theatres back in 2008. Mark Waters' perfectly crafted fantasy has made a long-lasting impression on me 16-years later with his truly gripping take on the magical world. 

Based on the best-selling books by Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles follows twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace (Freddie Highmore) who move into the decrepit Spiderwick Estate along with their soon-to-be-divorced mother and sister. Once there, they discover that their house is plagued by magical creatures who will do anything to get their hands on a special book that could destroy humanity.

From goblins and ogres to fairies and trolls, it's a supernaturally spooky spectacle that's excellent entertainment for the whole family that would earn a worthy place on our best Prime Video movies list. However, I should mention that younger children would probably be scared out of their wits by the mystical peril that unfolds, despite its PG classification.

Although it has the action-packed thrill ride you want from a fantasy adventure, The Spiderwick Chronicles offers depth and meaning to the genre as it tackles important themes such as divorce, abandonment, fractured relationships and grief. It's more than just battling beasts and shape-shifting ogres, but one thing's for sure is that you won't be able to forget this magical journey that is now available to stream on Prime Video.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers - YouTube The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers - YouTube
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A frighteningly fun fantasy that's not for kids

While The Spiderwick Chronicles received positive views from critics with its impressive 81% Rotten Tomatoes score, many people noted that the fantasy flick doesn't shy away from the horror elements, which is surprising for a supposedly family friendly movie. 

Roger Ebert wrote in his review: "They say be careful what you ask for because you might get it. I've often hailed back to the really creepy moments in Disney classics, like what happens to Dumbo and Bambi, and I've complained that recent family movies are too sanitized. This one, directed by Mark Waters (Freaky Friday), doesn't skip a beat before its truly horrific moments, so if you're under 8 or 9 years old, don't say you weren't warned."

Plugged In also echoed this sentiment, warning viewers that young children should probably sit this one out. "The story runs deeper than expected, then. And there’s a lot to unpack after the final credits fade. But moral luggage is accompanied by enough extraneous baggage that families with young children, or those unwilling to take the time to discuss the subtext should stay well away from Spiderwick," they revealed.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a gift to fantasy lovers and I think I'm still stuck in their web of monsters, magic and mayhem. Fancy joining me?

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Grace Morris
Entertainment Writer

After graduating with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, Grace dived into the world of entertainment where she started writing all about the must-watch shows and movies at What To Watch. Now Grace is on her next writing adventure at TechRadar, where she uses her expertise to help readers keep up to date on the biggest TV shows and movies in the ever-changing world of streaming. If she’s not writing about her passion for entertainment, you’ll find her watching reality shows while feasting on chocolate.