A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teens bully and pressure each other into bad behavior throughout the movie.
Positive Role Models
Teens drink, smoke, curse, and bully each other verbally and physically. The few adults in the movie are either drug lords, homophobic aunts, or prostitutes working in a massage parlor.
Violence & Scariness
Teen bullying throughout -- verbal and physical. Video shown of one of the characters blindfolded and on his knees being forced to put his lips up against a hot dog that he thinks is someone's penis. Character shot and killed. Four characters dress up in masks and kidnap a popular boy and try to hold him for ransom. Fighting with punches and kicks. Food fight in a school cafeteria.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In a classroom, a popular teen boy brags to his friends about the sex he had with a teen girl. A teen boy goes to a massage parlor for sex.
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Constant profanity throughout. "F--k" used often by teen characters. "Motherf---er" used a few times. "S--t," "p--sy," "a--hole," "t-ts," "c--kblock," "dick," "hell," "dildo," "gaylord." An aunt of one of the lead characters sees his vape pen and tells him that "it looks gay," and that "you're gay," said in a derogatory manner. Middle finger gesture.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens binge-drink, shown drunk, throwing up, passing out. Teens peer-pressured by other teens to drink. Vaping by teens.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dead Kids is a 2019 Filipino thriller in which a group of misfit teens kidnap a popular boy to extort money from his wealthy father. The teens engage in all kinds of bad behavior. They binge-drink, smoke, vape, curse ("f--k" is used a lot, among pretty much every other curse word and gesture out there), bully each other, fight, fire guns, and frequent massage parlors known for prostitution. The adults aren't much better; they're either completely oblivious or make their living as drug kingpins. In one of the more disturbing moments, one of the teens has a video of one of the bullied teens blindfolded and on his knees while another boy rubs a hot dog across the blindfolded boy's lips while telling him that it's a penis. A teen girl, after binge drinking all night in a bar, throws up from her barstool. It's a dark movie that doesn't really address issues the bad behaviors of these teens so much as it seems to sensationalize them. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is one of those teen movies that seems to positively revel in and exaggerate any and all bad behavior from teenagers. While Dead Kids makes somewhat of a comment on teenage cliques, popularity, bullying, peer pressure, and the income gap between the rich and the poor, all of this often gets lost in the over-the-top bad behavior. Teens curse in practically every line of dialogue, binge-drink until they vomit, brag about alleged sexual acts, visit massage parlors to pay for sex acts. Meanwhile, the adults tend to be oblivious, homophobic, and making their living in the criminal underworld. Based on true events, the sheer nihilism of it all tends to overwhelm any potential takeaways.
The acting is very good across the board, in spite of all the gratuitous excess. It's a pitch-black thriller where the darkness and the occasional self indulgence supersedes the story. For instance, in one scene, the unpopular "Dead Kids" suddenly stand up to some of their bullies in the cafeteria, which leads to a food fight between all the students in the cafeteria. There's no real reason for this scene to be in the movie, as it doesn't really advance the story or establish anything new about the characters. The movie is full of moments like these that come off as being done just because. This excess turns what might have been a memorable and unique movie into just the latest in a decades-long series of "teen juvey" films.
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.