A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this vampire horror movie (which was based on a graphic novel) isn't for kids. While the themes aren't especially sophisticated, the imagery is very bloody, with bodies getting torn, beaten, chewed, and graphically abused. Children are in danger and killed (one is a bloody-mouthed vampire who's eventually slain by an adolescent boy), and there are explosions, car crashes, shootings, foot chases, and lots of tense scenes. Language includes several uses of "f--k" and other profanity, there's some drinking, and a grandmother grows medicinal marijuana.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The humans are warned of an impending vampire invasion by someone called The Stranger (Ben Foster), who arrives in town seeking a bowl of raw hamburger and then intones, "That cold ain't the weather, that's death approaching." Part wanna-be and part fanboy ("The undead, man!"), The Stranger has led the vampires to Barrow because, in winter, the sun disappears for an entire month. (For some reason, this darkness also means that no planes fly in or out of Barrow -- an illogical premise that leaves the citizens utterly alone and abandoned.) The movie's action follows the basic rhythms of a slasher film, showing one terrible assault after another, with the ugly deaths of disposable extras leaving the small band of stars bickering and learning important lessons about how to look after one another. The humans alternately hide in attics, scavenge from the well-stocked market, and fight off the monsters with all manner of makeshift weapons, ranging from flares and axes to shotguns and sunlamps. As the days tick by (marked by captions so you can keep track), the vampires inexplicably leave the survivors alone for long stretches. The vampires, much like the humans, travel as a pack, led by Marlow and his apparent girlfriend Iris (Megan Franich). Except for Marlow, they all have digitally distorted faces -- enlarged or misshapen noses, jutting jaws, huge scars, and increasingly bloody and gaping mouths -- that mark their strangeness and capacity for brutality (they consume humans and dogs with equal abandon). As usual, human self-sacrifice appears to be the most effective weapon against the vampires, who are selfish by definition and endlessly \"thirsty.\"
Is it any good?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the continuing appeal of vampire stories. How does this movie compare to other vampire movies and TV shows you've seen? Parents and kids can also discuss the way that families are presented in the movie. Why do the characters who are part of families do some of the violent things they do?