Critics by and large are enchanted with The Spiderwick Chronicles. It's "a well-crafted family thriller that is truly scary and doesn't wimp out," writes Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times. The fantasy, based on the best-selling books, follows twins (played by Freddie Highmore) and their sister (In America's Sarah Bolger) as the recipients of a forbidden book that might save the world.
"The movie's richly autumnal look is by swift turns cozily naturalistic and terrifyingly baroque, and director Mark Waters (Freaky Friday, Mean Girls) sustains the balance between real and surreal with mischievous brio," writes Ella Taylor for Village Voice. Keith Phipps of the Onion AV Club adds, "Anyone looking for handsomely presented, kid-friendly thrills need look no further."