A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No positive messages in horror story about city folk who meet violent countryfolk with Satanic tendencies.
Positive Role Models
No positive role models. A family of three seek a vacation in the country after it's discovered that the husband, a creative writing teacher, has been having an affair with one of his students.
Minimal diversity. There are White people who are the requisite "city slickers" of horror movies, and White people who are the requisite "creepy country people" of horror movies. Near the end, there's an African American female police officer.
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Violence & Scariness
A woman is burned to death in a car that has been doused with gasoline. Man is bludgeoned to death with a hammer, shown dead and bloody by his head wounds. A man is mauled to death by a demon coyote, shown torn apart, bloodied, and dying. Man shot and presumably killed by a rifle shot at point-blank range, shown bleeding out of his chest. In the middle of a heated argument, a woman slaps her husband hard in the face. Jump scares.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirtation between an 18-year-old "local" boy and a 14-year-old girl on vacation with her parents.
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"F--k" used many times. Also: "a--hole," "s--t," "bulls--t," "pissed," "hell," "for Christ's sakes."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A House on the Bayou is a 2021 horror movie in which a Houston family rents a vacation home in the country and encounters a pair of creepy and violent locals. Expect a fair amount of horror movie violence, blood, and gore, including a woman dying inside a car that has been doused with gasoline and set ablaze, a man bludgeoned to death with a hammer, and a man mauled to death by a demonic coyote. Constant profanity, including "f--k." The reason the "family from the city" is staying in this vacation home in the Louisiana bayou is because the wife has discovered that the husband, a creative writing instructor, has been having an affair with one of his students, and there are scenes in which the couple get into heated, angry, or passive-aggressive arguments (often within eye or earshot of their 14-year-old daughter), some of which may be too much for sensitive viewers. Flirtations between an 18-year-old local boy and the 14-year-old daughter become increasingly creepy. Wine drinking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Smug urbanites face off against demonic provincials. That's more or less the plot of A House on the Bayou, and if that seems like a worn-out story, it's because it is. Indeed, there are too many examples to name of horror movies in which city folk with their big-city ways venture off to the countryside to find a respite from the proverbial rat race, only to encounter psychotic locals who either don't take too kindly to outsiders in yuppie foreign cars or hippie party vans in the first place, or turn nasty after a perceived slight or two. The movie tries to keep you guessing as to whether the bad guys are simply sociopaths from the murky depths of Cajun country or are in fact tools of Satan, if not Satan himself. By the time this is revealed, it feels as unsatisfying as any other plot twist shoehorned into the story.
Topping off all the cliches inherent in the urban/rural horror movie divide, there's an undercurrent of Louisiana cliches that have been done to death in a wide array of media, including film, music, and cooking shows. It seems that nearly anything set in The Pelican State must have someone speaking in an awed whisper about how mystically magical it is, due to French or Haitian ties, cayenne pepper, the Mississippi River, something. This is no different. Apparently, in the words of the Skeptical Cop in this horror movie, "It's easy to get confused in the bayou," and "The bayou plays a lot of tricks," said among other verities about the state's swamps and parishes. It has become as stock and bland as a Midwest potluck dinner of meatloaf and cupcakes, and here's hoping that those who set their artistic work in Louisiana start coming up with stories as unique and diverse as the state actually is.
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.