By Brian Costello,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Solid sci-fi horror tale has strong violence, language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A secondary character (one of six in the entire movie) is Asian American.
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Violence & Scariness
Sci-fi horror violence. Alien with sharp blade for finger slices a man's head in half. Blade through head. Woman kicks man in groin before throwing him off of a cliff; body shown stretched across one of the rocks below. Shark attack in the ocean. Tentacle through a person's brain stem. Character shown taken prisoner in a cave, encased in alien fluid, surrounded by decapitated heads of other victims. Jump scares throughout. Deer shown attacked by alien, its corpse later discovered by hikers. Talk of a lead character's childhood; implied domestic violence between her parents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple make insinuations about sex in their tent while on a hiking trip.
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"F--k" often used. Also "s--t," "pissed," "crap," "damn," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A lead character struggles with anxiety and takes medication for it.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Significant Other is a 2022 sci-horror movie in which a couple on a hiking trip in Oregon encounter a sinister alien force. Expect some horror violence and gore, including a scene in which a man's head is sliced in half by an alien with a blade for a finger, and another scene in which the blade goes through a head. A woman kicks a man in the groin before throwing him off a cliff, his body shown stretched across one of the rocks below. There's a shark attack in the ocean, and a shot of a tentacle stabbing into someone's brain stem. An alien kills a deer, its rotting body discovered later by the hikers. Language throughout includes "f--k." A couple make insinuations about sex in their tent while on a hiking trip. One of the lead characters struggles with anxiety and takes medication for it.
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What's the Story?
In SIGNIFICANT OTHER, Ruth (Maika Monroe) and Harry (Jake Lacy) are a couple who are going on a hiking and camping trip in the woods of Oregon. They've been together for six years, and Harry thinks that this trip might be a good time to pop "the big question." While they struggle with Ruth's anxiety issues and their own issues as a couple, things take a frightening turn after Ruth leaves the tent to take a walk and comes across a cave with puddles of an unknown gooey substance. When Harry finds her after she's away for longer than expected, something seems off with Ruth, and it doesn't take long to discover that no one is what they seem.
Is It Any Good?
This is an engaging sci-fi horror movie that's also a dark commentary on love and relationships. Significant Other goes into some genuinely surprising directions -- especially remarkable since it doesn't take much to figure out the "twists" in most horror movies. Yes, there are some of the story touchstones and clichés of horror (the local who warns of bad things before the bad things happen, secondary characters doomed to face a gory death, etc.), but these are far outweighed by the movie's original moments.
As "nice guy" Harry, Jake Lacy goes in some interesting directions. Without giving anything away, what starts out as a character study of a couple who are in love but also wary of committing to marriage morphs into questioning the essence of love and what that may mean for the individuals involved. Maika Monroe is terrific as Ruth, Harry's longtime girlfriend who struggles with anxiety, particularly with this hiking and camping trip, even before everything falls into chaotic disarray. It's an effective pairing of sci-fi and horror, and like the best of both, has something deeper to communicate besides the scares.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about sci-fi horror movies like Significant Other. How is this similar to and different from other sci-horror movies in which aliens invade Earth?
How does the movie use and perhaps parody romcoms or romantic dramas in which a long-term couple is having problems?
How does the violence compare to that of other sci-fi horror movies? Was it too much, or necessary for the story? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: October 7, 2022
- Cast: Maika Monroe, Jake Lacy, Teal Sherer
- Director: Dan Berk
- Studio: Paramount+
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Violence, gore and language.
- Last updated: May 18, 2023
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