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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Ultimately, the movie is an attempt at commentary on media consumption and violence.
Positive Role Models
Characters are standard horror movie archetypes, even with the story twists.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody and gory horror movie violence throughout. One of the characters is drinking and driving (from a bottle of beer that has been spiked with a sedative) when he swerves off the road. One of the travelers breaks their leg as a result of the accident; bloody injury graphically shown as they scream while others try to reset the bone. Character strapped to a table and gets his legs bludgeoned with a large mallet before his eyes are gouged by a medieval-looking torture device that's cranked downward into his face. Characters' eyes, ears, and tongues are carved out with a knife as a form of ritual cult sacrifice before they're killed by getting their throats slit. A character is shown tied up and bloodied and gagged as they are about to be struck by a giant mallet. One of the characters is literally nailed down to a chair with spikes in her hands. Characters shot and killed by someone wielding a rifle.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Exposed male buttocks in Tiktok-esque video of a boyfriend and girlfriend dancing.
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Constant profanity. "F--k" often used. Bad guy calls one of his victims "a f--king slut." Also: "a--hole," "bulls--t," "s--t," "d--k," "ass," "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer and wine drinking. A character drinks from a bottle of beer that's later revealed to have been spiked with a sedative. Reference made to cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Classic Horror Story is a 2021 Italian horror movie in which five travelers in southern Italy struggle to survive a bloodthirsty cult in the woods. Bloody and gory violence throughout, including spikes and knives gouging out eyes, knives cutting out ears and tongues, and killings by slit throats and rifle shots. One of the travelers is tied to a table where their ankles are bludgeoned by someone wielding a giant mallet before a kind of medieval-torture device grinds downward with spikes boring into their eyes. One of the travelers is nailed to a chair with spikes in their hands. The reason these travelers are stuck in the woods is because one of them is drinking and driving. A beer bottle is spiked with a sedative. There's a graphic, gory, and bloody scene involving a broken leg. Frequent profanity, including "f--k." A bad guy calls one of his victims "a f--king slut." Brief male nudity (buttocks). Wine drinking and reference to cocaine. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As the title implies, this is a self aware horror movie, a love-it-or-hate-it experience. While one expects story twists and gruesome violence in horror movies, A Classic Horror Story takes the twists to extreme and/or absurd levels, and the violence ultimately leads to a discussion on violence in horror movies, consumption of violence in media, and the public's seemingly insatiable appetite for violence, either in story or in "reality" entertainment. The audience itself is implicated, and even Netflix is implicated. The title and the first two acts of the movie, with horror movie trope after trope, and nods to so many other horror movies, comes across as the kind of cynical irony often employed in movies where making money takes precedence over any pretensions of artistic expression, but the third act, after so much unpleasant blood and gore, turns the movie into something else.
A Classic Horror Story's confrontation with itself, its genre, its streaming service, and its audience will be provocative to some, overwrought to others. It will anger some, when these same people should reserve their anger less for this movie's messages on horror and violence and more for how uninspired, cheesy, and gratuitous most horror movies are. That said, the movie wants it both ways. It uses the very violence it confronts to the same extremes as any other gory horror movie, and so much blood and so many body parts are shed before the "big reveal" that pranks and implicates everyone. While one hopes that the meta self criticism employed by the filmmakers is a comment on their own part in the very industry they're confronting, it's hard to tell if that part of the movie's message is earnest reflection or smug cynicism. Still, in a genre known more for heart skips and adrenaline, this is surprisingly thought-provoking.
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.