Constantine City of Demons: The Movie

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Constantine City of Demons: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Brutality, horrific monsters, profanity in animated film.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

With resourcefulness and courage, good defeats evil. Even a seemingly-untrustworthy person can find redemption.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Flawed but basically-decent hero calls upon his magical powers to take on villains of enormous proportions. He's looking for redemption and attempts to be righteous no matter what the cost. Evil-doers are monsters, demons, and powerful beasts.   

Violence

Animated gore and brutality. Blood spurts, drenches walls, and bodies fly. Hero is constantly cleaning himself from blood and guts which explode around him. Very young girls are menaced, held captive, in mortal danger even as their souls are extracted from their bodies. Countless deaths at hands of superhuman creatures. Bloody bodies are strewn on ground, seen hanging, and piled high in a "swimming pool." Weapons: knives, teeth, implements of strangulation. There are monsters who decapitate and dismember their enemies -- even biting off body parts. Victims plummet into fire, explosions, spiraling tunnels. Blood-curdling screams, shrieking, eerie music, liquefying bodies, and mass murder. Terrifying demons roar, bare fanged teeth, and attack innocents. Entire city is under siege. A pack of fiery demon dogs chases and attacks heroes.

Sex

Female costumes emphasize breasts and legs, often skimpy. Sexual innuendo in several scenes with teasing, provocative female behavior. Hero is seduced by a woman who partially disrobes him, attempts to have sexual intercourse; they are interrupted.

Language

Profanity includes: "s--t," "bastard," "jerk-off," "whore," "piss off," "hell," "Christ," and one use of "f--k." 

Consumerism

Part of the Warner Bros/DC Comic franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hero (and others) smokes cigarettes throughout. Alcoholic beverages are consumed in multiple sequences. Hero drinks, gets drunk, vomits, and acknowledges a drinking problem. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Constantine City of Demons: The Movie is an animated, direct-to-video film from DC Comics and Warner Brothers. Extremely violent, the central story in this movie involves a young child whose death appears imminent and whose "soul has been stolen" and hidden in the dark recesses of the earth. John Constantine, the hero, is charged with saving her. Constantine is a demon hunter and occult detective who first appeared in the DC Hellblazer comic books in 1988. The character's first appearance on film was in Constantine, a 2005 film starring Keanu Reeves. A 13-episode, live-action TV series appeared in 2014, starring Matt Ryan who voices the animated character in this film. Constantine has also been featured in DC Comic Justice League films and in a web series. Viewers can expect frequent brutality, along with grotesque monsters whose powers seem almost limitless. Characters (human and demon) are killed with abandon. They're stabbed, impaled, mutilated, and fight to the death in savage hand-to-hand combat. Both humans and creatures are subject to decapitation and others to villains who relish eating their victims' body parts. Profanity, including "s--t," "bastard," "pissed off," "hell," "crap," and one use of "f--k," is heard. There is sexual innuendo, female characters in scanty, breast-accentuating costumes, and a lengthy scene in which a woman attempts to seduce the hero (she is ultimately interrupted). Drinking, drunkenness, vomiting, and cigarette smoking are frequent.

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What's the story?

John Constantine, master of the supernatural, is living in his native London, plagued by guilt, battling his inner demons (which appear as savage little creatures) in CONSTANTINE CITY OF DEMONS: THE MOVIE. Possible redemption comes in the form of Constantine's childhood best friend Chas (Damian O'Hare) who, aware of Constantine's occult powers, desperately needs him. Chas's 8-year-old daughter, Trish, lies in a coma. There's no explanation for her condition, no hope for her return to consciousness. Chas rightfully suspects that black magic is at work. Constantine is fearful, reluctant -- their last intervention together had tragic results. Chas begs; finally, Constantine agrees. In short order, Constantine, aided by Asa (Laura Bailey), confirms that sorcery is in play. Constantine and his friend are thrust into a war of epic proportions -- with a coterie of monsters and bloodthirsty demons. Their journey to save the little girl takes them to Los Angeles, where the mayhem that awaits them knows no bounds. Trish may not be the only loved one at risk; the entire city is threatened with destruction.

Is it any good?

The film's distinctive animation, rousing battles, and top-notch vocal performances serve this off-beat DC Comic "hero" well -- with a caution that it's a grisly affair. Depraved villains attack with unleashed gusto. Blood flows; bodies fall (and are sometimes feasted upon). For new audiences, the mysterious John Constantine's back story, as well as the extent of his multiple supernatural powers, are front and center in Constantine City of Demons: The Movie. The story, while populated by a staggering number of players, is clear and easy to follow. Many of the heroes and heroic events which appear in the vast DC's Justice League franchise are okay for kids (i.e., SupermanBatman). Constantine is not one of those heroes. His skills -- powerful black magic, voodoo chants, exorcism -- as well as his creepily soul-thirsty enemies are only meant for mature teens and adults.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Constantine City of Demons: The Movie. Does the fact that this is an animated movie rather than live-action lessen the impact of the brutality and extreme violence? Why or why not? Is there such a thing as too much violence? How do you determine what is too much? Why is it essential to be aware of the impact of violence on kids?

  • Were you familiar with the character of John Constantine before you watched this film? If you were not, did the filmmakers give you enough back story to make this movie and the character understandable? Which scenes or sequences clarified Constantine's past and present?

  • What is meant by the literary and film term "anti-hero?" In what ways does John Constantine fit the definition? Do you find yourself rooting for anti-heroes in spite of his or her flaws? Why or why not? Who is your favorite anti-hero?

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