A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Issues of life, death and afterlife are dealt with in a smart, humanistic way. Depending on individual beliefs this could be comforting or disturbing. Regardless, however, the film deals with tremendous issues with sensitivity.
Positive Role Models
Cole is a smart and likable kid who is gifted and cursed with his ability to talk to the departed. The empathy the viewer feels for him makes his experiences all the more terrifying but his courage and growth through the film is commendable. Dr. Crowe's journey with Cole is multilayered but the complexity of their experiences does not deter from the trusting bond they forge.
Violence & Scariness
Several scary surprises, some quite grisly. Child is stalked by the dead who want something from him; he looks terrified most of the time. A child is poisoned. Image of three people hanging in a school. A shooting and a suicide.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"S--t" and a few lesser swear words.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has some thoughtful and meaningful views on life and death that some viewers may find comforting, and others may find sad or disturbing. The ghosts that Cole sees are of people who died violently and they are gruesome, even shocking, in appearance; you'll see a shooting, a suicide, a poisoning, people hanging, and more. Some of the dead are children, one killed by her own mother. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is one of the rarest of movie treats, a thinking person's thriller that is genuinely haunting. You're lucky if you see a movie that you are still thinking about it hours later. Its ultimate conclusion is stunning but, in retrospect, inevitable. Parents should not be misled by the PG-13 rating. This movie is in some ways far scarier than the R-rated The Blair Witch Project. Parents should be cautious about allowing children under high school age to watch it, and should be prepared to talk to kids about the movie, because even teens may find it upsetting.
Osment is truly sensational, one of the finest performances ever given by a child. Willis complements him perfectly, and the interaction between the two of them is deeply touching. This movie has some thoughtful and meaningful views on life and death that some viewers may find comforting, and others may find sad or disturbing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate