A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Incarnate is a horror movie about a man who goes into the minds of demon-possessed people to help them. There's a lot of violence, and much of it is pretty intense. Characters fight, and there are bloody wounds, killings, a throat slashing, a violent car crash (the result of a drunk driver), scary scenes, and a child in jeopardy. A father is said to have accidentally hurt his son, breaking his arm; a boy fights an attacker and breaks his neck, killing him. Language includes one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bitch," and more. A man gropes a woman in a bar, and a "whorehouse" is mentioned. Characters drink (in bars or from flasks) every so often, but no one is drunk, and there are no consequences. There's a reference to a "heroin addict."
What's the story?
In INCARNATE, Dr. Ember (Aaron Eckhart) is able to enter the minds of people who are possessed and help drive out the demons, which he considers parasites. When young Cameron (David Mazouz) is taken over, a representative of the Vatican (Catalina Sandino Moreno) calls on Dr. Ember to help. He agrees, but only because he believes that the demon in question is one he's been hunting. He calls her "Maggie" and holds her responsible for the deaths of his own wife and son. But as Ember begins to take the plunge, he finds that Maggie isn't so easily dispatched, and that there's more at stake than he originally bargained for.
Is it any good?
This horror movie tries to set itself apart from other demon-possession movies by inventing an interesting new mythology, but eventually it gets tired, bogged down and lost in its own rule book. Eckhart tries his best in the lead role as a scruffy, wheelchair-bound man who's lost everything, but his efforts seem to exist in a void. No one else in Incarnate seems to have even shown up for work, certainly not director Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, San Andreas), who mainly seems intent on keeping the horrors from stretching beyond the PG-13 realm.
Peyton includes a few jump-scares in the film, as well as some digitally enhanced black eyeballs, and he has his actors stare in disbelief as "amazing" visual effects happen before them. Aside from Dr. Ember, the other characters never seem to know what they're doing or what the most realistic, emotional choice might be. It's lazy, uninspired work; perhaps, after this and I, Frankenstein, it might be wise for Eckhart to stay away from horror and opt to things like Sully instead.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie scary? Why or why not? What's the appeal of scary movies? Is it sometimes fun to be scared?
Is the main character helpful or selfish? Even though he helps people for the wrong reasons, is he still helping them? (Do the ends justify the means?)
How does this compare to other "demon possession" movies? Why is this genre scary or appealing?
- In theaters: December 2, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: March 7, 2017
- Cast: Carice Van Houten, Aaron Eckhart, Catalina Sandino Moreno
- Director: Brad Peyton
- Studio: High Top Releasing
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images, brief strong language, sensuality and thematic elements
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
For kids who love horror
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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.
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