Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… a really sweet, well-made, sometimes frightening and even emotionally affecting movie. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Parents can trust that none of their wee ones will ask for a stuffed water horse for Christmas. The star of this Scottish fable, about the mythical Loch Ness monster, looks like a raw chicken breast with teeth when he hatches.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    While it boasts a lower profile than many other Christmas releases, it might catch on with parents who want to take their kids to a movie that the entire family will actually enjoy. Nifty special effects and a first-rate British cast elevate this production.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    It declines to take itself seriously, yet manages, sometimes simultaneously, to be exciting, instructive, cheerfully absurd and genuinely affecting.

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Well-told fanciful tales aimed at children but appreciated by adults are a rarity, and The Water Horse should be savored for the exuberantly entertaining ride it offers.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Like most British family films, Water Horse doesn't dumb down its young characters or insult the intelligence of the audience. It has a lot of sly humor about what we know, or have heard, about the Loch Ness monster.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Predictable family fantasy not as good as book.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of the popular book by Babe author Dick King-Smith has a very different plotline than the original story, escalating the violence within the WWII-era setting. The monster becomes truly dangerous when fully grown (in an old-school King Kong way), lashing out at people with snapping jaws -- which leads the British soldiers to open fire on it. But it's still a kid-friendly film overall.

  • Families can talk about the Loch Ness Monster. Do you think it could be real? Why or why not? How might a story like this have gotten started? Can you think of other movies in which a child forms a secret attachment with an unusual pet or unearthly friend? How is this movie similar to and different from them? Families who've read the book the movie is based on can compare the two -- which do you like better, and why?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Young Angus is depicted as a sensitive, nature-loving boy with something of a wistful streak (he either truly doesn't know or pretends he doesn't know that his father is dead). His character is contrasted to the British military men, who pretend to represent discipline and gallantry but come off mainly as bullies. In the book, the whole family knew the secret of the water horse and cooperated to keep it; here, only Angus, his sister, and a rebellious Scottish ex-soldier conspire to hide the monster. There are references to centuries-old bad feelings between the Scots and the British.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Soldiers bombard the monster with artillery and shoot at it with rifles. The beast threatens the humans right back, with its snapping jaws and enormous strength. The monster kills/eats a bullying bulldog (off screen). A fistfight between two men.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: A built-in promo for the book by Dick King-Smith -- but that's the kind of promotion that might actually benefit kids.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking and smoking at a banquet and a local pub.