A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Overall message warning against excess and the drive to conquer and control nature.
Positive Role Models
Billy and Kate show bravery and resourcefulness, but a lot of mixed messages and microaggressions.
Violence & Scariness
Gremlins gruesomely kill people -- and vice versa.
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Moderate bathroom and religiously themed expletives.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Gremlins smoke, drink like fish, and gamble with abandon.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gremlins has many scary scenes, including a mom chopping up a Gremlin with a kitchen knife, a Gremlin-in-blender, and indelible Gremlin-in-microwave scenes. Parents and movie buffs alike may be interested to know that, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating. Also, a heads' up: Even though this movie isn't intended for kids young enough to really still want to believe in Santa, just in case: Phoebe Cates' character gives a memorable speech about how she found out that St. Nick wasn't real. There is also a lot of salty language; much more profanity than you may remember. 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 hit from the 1984 has lost none of its ability to frighten and entertain. Both a dark comedy and a cultural commentary, Gremlins adds up to much more than a monster flick. Although they grow meaner, the Gremlins possess a sick sense of humor that establishes the twisted comic tone. Visually, the movie is also filled with fun touches, like a "Have a Safe and Happy Holiday" sign shown while a science teacher is rather indelicately butchered.
The special effects are also convincing if not original: Gizmo looks a bit like an Ewok from Star Wars, and the Gremlin pods seem lifted directly from Alien. Gremlins even attempts a message by exploring the evils of mid-'80s corporate culture: human acquisitiveness and the drive to conquer and control nature. In the end, the old Chinese man who sold Billy's dad the Mogwai returns to sum it up: "You do with Mogwai what your society has done with all of nature's gifts. You are not ready."
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.