A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sometimes it's not a good idea to go home again.
Positive Role Models
A male character, a former boyfriend of the female protagonist, is very sympathetic and helpful, endangering himself (and getting himself into trouble with his wife) to assist his friend in need.
Violence & Scariness
Not much blood or gore. Ghosts take solid form and attack victims. Intense fighting, with struggling, kicking, and punching. A character's head is bashed. In a dream sequence, the main character witnesses a gory operating table, with some blood shown. A sudden car crash. A character is burned alive in a shed (seen from the outside). Ghosts do scary things like scream and spew icky stuff in people's faces. A tiny coffin for a baby is dug up and opened; suggestions of violence toward the baby. Some kind of dead animal is shown. Guns are briefly fired. Some meanness and cruelty toward main character in wheelchair.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The female lead wears a wet tank top after a bath. Nothing explicit is visible.
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"S--t" is heard several times. "Goddamn" and "ass" are heard more than once. "Jesus" is used as an exclamation.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character drinks several glasses of whisky, but doesn't appear to be drunk. A flask is shown in her father's car. Some prescription pills are found in a drawer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jessabelle is a horror film about ghosts. Though it comes from one of the filmmakers behind the ultra-gory Saw franchise, this one isn't nearly as gory. But although blood is minimal, there's fighting and struggling, scary ghost stuff, a gruesome nightmare sequence, a character burned alive, and some general meanness -- as well as a life-changing car crash. Language includes several uses of "s--t," plus a few uses of "goddamn" and "ass." A flask is shown, and the main character drinks whisky in one scene. In one scene, she wears a wet tank top after coming out of the bathtub, but there's no nudity. Teen horror hounds will no doubt be clamoring to see it. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Whenever JESSABELLE comes to a scary part, it turns into a messy, shaky jumble, frequently blurring or obscuring whatever it is that's supposed to be scary. Director Kevin Greutert was a film editor for years before he became a director with the "torture porn" films Saw VI (2009) and Saw 3D (2010), but you'd never know it. Perhaps Greutert and screenwriter Robert Ben Garant never really established the rules of the ghosts. Why do they bother appearing and attacking in solid form when they can also do things by telepathy?
The movie does make atmospheric use of its southern bayou setting. And Greutert seems to care about his characters; he gives them several human, non-scary moments that are effective, and it helps that Snook and Webber are so sympathetic in their roles. But ultimately even they fall apart under the strange illogic of the entire situation and a barrage of unanswered questions.
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.