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 movie is packaged with Benji's Dog Tale Collection, but is much more graphic and mature than Benji movies. Instead, viewers will see an intense portrayal of a troubled teenage girl lost in the desert with a teenage boy. The movie includes racial epithets directed at Latinos, a family dog driven mad by rabies who gets shot and killed, graphic scenes of injured legs and snake bites treated with maggots and pocket knives, and mild profanity.
What's the story?
After being in trouble with the authorities, as well as her mother (Catherine Bach), for being at a party where there was alcohol, teenager Andy (Alana Austin) is sent to spend time with her Grandpa Nate (Ernest Borgnine). Grandpa Nate takes her to Castle Rock for a camping trip, but when he collapses from a stroke while Andy is away looking for their dog, Andy must learn to survive in the Arizona desert. Along the way, she befriends Antonio, a Guatemalan teenage athlete who is being pursued by the border patrol because he escaped their clutches.
Is it any good?
Not even Ernest Borgnine can rescue this mess of casual racism, unrealistic scenarios, bad acting, and forced storytelling. To say nothing of the graphic scenes of maggots, a snakebite, and the fate of the poor dog in this film. With all these factors taken into consideration, there should be something in this to disturb almost everyone, adults and children alike. The desperate attempts at racial harmony in the film in no way overcome everything else that's going wrong here.
CASTLE ROCK is included in the Benji's Dog Tale Collection of canine-themed movies. Be warned: This film is not only not a dog tale, but what happens to this dog during the film would not be something dog lovers would enjoy under any circumstances.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Grandpa Nate's use of racial slurs. How does this reflect his attitudes and beliefs, and how does the film contradict these attitudes and beliefs as Andy and Antonio get to know each other better?
How accurately do you think this film portrays how to survive if lost in the desert?
What is the film's message about immigration and the challenge of regulating it?
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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.