A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that #Horror is a social commentary/slasher movie that deals with cyberbullying, social media, and poor parenting. Its message isn't plainly obvious, but there may be enough here to get teens thinking and talking about the relevant issues. But even though the main characters are 12, the material is too mature for tweens and younger teens. Violence includes a slasher/killer who dispatches victims with splatters of gore, as well as bullying, arguing, shouting, crying, and threatening. Guns and knives are shown, and one girl cuts herself. Language includes many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and other words and insults. An intense (extramarital) sex scene starts the movie, and there's some sex talk afterward. The young girls drink vodka, and there's adult smoking and a reference to attending "meetings" to deal with drinking.
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What's the story?
A new kid in town, 12-year-old Sam (Sadie Seelert), goes to a sleepover at the mansion of her wealthy new friend Sofia (Bridget McGarry). Left alone by Sofia's mother (Chloe Sevigny), the group of six girls begins to indulge in dress-up games and teasing. Things get out of hand when Cat (Haley Murphy) starts bullying her friends, and she's asked to leave, turned out into the cold and snow. Her frantic, borderline psychotic father (Timothy Hutton) goes hunting for her. Meanwhile, stories of an artist who went mad in the house come to light, a car with the dead body of one of the girls' fathers is found, and someone is in the woods, blowing up social media with pictures of the sleepover.
Is it any good?
Clearly this movie has something urgent to say about cyberbullying, social media, and proper parenting; that message isn't clear, but despite its messiness, the movie may still inspire discussion. Artist/actress/fashion designer Tara Subkoff makes her writing and directing debut here, enlisting the aid of other artists to create social media-related animations (many of which include blade-slashing sound effects). It doesn't really achieve outrage; the effect is instead rather numbing.
The scenes inside the house, which is filled with strange artwork and huge windows looking out onto the chilly winter, might have been worth something, but the characters are more stereotypes than humans. Very little attention is paid to time and logic, and lines like "there's nothing to do without our phones" simply fall flat, tumbling out like a blandly true statement. The final half-hour, with slashing and screaming, is very poorly shot, hard to watch, and ridiculous. See Unfriended instead.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about #Horror's violence. What are the most disturbing scenes? How much is shown, and how much is left to the imagination? Which has more of an impact? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of slasher movies? How is this one different (or similar) to others you may have seen?
How is social media presented in the movie? Does it look like fun? Is it addicting? What's the appeal of getting lots of "likes"? How does it compare to real life?
What does the movie have to say about bullying and cyberbullying? How easy is it to bully someone? Does it help to understand how hurtful it can be?
Is sex scene that starts the movie necessary? What does it achieve?
For kids who love scares
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