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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while teens will be clamoring to see this darkly funny horror movie -- which stars Transformers' Megan Fox and was written by Juno's Diablo Cody -- it's full of gory demonic violence, sex (including partial nudity, same-sex kissing, and a pervasive tone of sex as a game, a competition, and even a prelude to murder), constant strong language (from "f--k" to "s--t" and more), teen drinking, and more. Teens who watch expecting an offbeat screwball comedy like Juno will be in for a huge shock. Parents also need to know that this review is for the rated version of the film.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In a small town, Jennifer (Megan Fox) and "Needy" (Amanda Seyfried) are unlikely best friends. Then Jennifer is murdered in a Satanic ritual by a rock band whose members hope that sacrificing her will give them the big break they need. But a flaw in the ceremony -- turns out, when the instructions say "sacrifice a virgin," you can't get away with any substitutions -- means that Jennifer is now posessed by a hungry demonic spirit bent on murder. Can Needy stop her best friend's killing rampage?
Is it any good?
This is a sexed-up, glossy take on the traditional high school horror film, with plenty of Diablo Cody's zingy (some would say overly zingy) dialogue to add pep to the proceedings. Plus there's the presence of pin-up sex symbol Fox as the titular slayer. The movie works as a guilty pleasure thanks to its general air of grisly goofiness. And Seyfried's performance anchors the film in just enough emotional reality to make the film's plot matter.
Kusama's direction may take a backseat to Cody's script, Fox's performance, and the grisly special effects, but the end result is a fun if frightening night out for older teens and 20-somethings. Anyone else will be too removed from high school (or too overwhelmed by the pace and pitch of Cody's dialogue) to be very moved by the stakes and action. Cody's follow-up to Juno won't be another Oscar nominee, but it earns a gory glory all its own.
Talk to your kids about ...
What is the movie saying about sexual competitiveness between girls? Why do these issues get fought out in this way? What motivates girls to fight, and fight the way they do, in close friendships?
Why do you think so many horror films take place in or around high school? What does that say about being a teenager?
- In theaters: September 18, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: December 29, 2009
- Cast: Amanda Seyfried, J.K. Simmons, Megan Fox
- Director: Karyn Kusama
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexuality, bloody violence, language and brief drug use
- Last updated: December 21, 2009
For kids who love thrills
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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.