A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The only message here seems to be a warning that White men are currently being marginalized, dismissed, and targeted for snarky comments -- but watch out, they fight back.
Positive Role Models
A high school athlete is shown to be brave and self-sacrificing on multiple occasions. A female student is depicted as a creative thinker and problem solver. But most characters, and to some degree even these two, are shown to be awful in some way.
Teens are racially diverse but also mean and degrading. A Black family is portrayed with positive attributes, but another Black character is depicted negatively.
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Violence & Scariness
Premeditated, calculated shootings of students and school staff by their teacher, including shots to the head with graphic amounts of blood. Suicidal ideation expressed by character who puts a gun to his head. Misogynistic jokes, including about inappropriate/illegal sexual activity between student and teacher.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lewd jokes, innuendo. Camera pans quickly past a sexually suggestive moment between teens. Male characters shown shirtless in what appears to be judgmental way: The teacher is fit, while a student who's portrayed as a jerk is doughy. Teen boy intentionally exposes himself to a girl to "be funny" (no sensitive body parts are captured on camera).
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Pervasive strong language, including "ass," "balls," "c--k," "c--t," "dammit," "hell," "nut sack," "orgy," "s--t," "vag," and ample use of "f--k." Insults, including "a--hole," "bitch," "creep," "d--k," "douche bag," "dumbass," "motherf----rs," "p---y," and "weirdo." Crass sexual terms including "blow," "hand job," and "queef." Bathroom humor.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Heavy drinking. Main character appears to be dependent on alcohol, constantly drinking out of cans (it's implied that they're beer) and bottles of alcohol around his apartment. Teens drink and talk about getting drunk for fun. Adult smokes pot on the job.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Last the Night is a pandemic-set thriller about a fed-up high school teacher (Brian Austin Green) who hunts down his students at school. It's as disturbingly violent as it sounds, with graphic, bloody shootings of teens at school, as well as depictions of them running and hiding through the hallways. It also presents an uncomfortably sympathetic portrayal of a middle-aged White man who feels that the world has unfairly made him out to be a "bad guy" -- so he snaps and chooses to become exactly that. The four teens who are his targets are diverse, but two are outrageously awful: One is misogynistic and makes sexually inappropriate jokes with crass language ("blow," "d--k," etc.), while the other is exaggeratedly "woke" and brags that she intends to lie about a teacher touching her. The other two teens go along with their friends and make some poor choices but are portrayed more heroically. One is brave and puts others' needs before his own, and the other is smart and demonstrates lateral thinking skills. Expect heavy drinking and profanity ("c--t," "f--k," and much more) throughout. Adults drink and use pot while working in a school setting, and there's a brief glimpse of teens engaging in some type of sexual activity. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Writer-director Nick Leisure has made a shoot-'em-up film that's dangerously bad. It wants to be a modern-day Falling Down, a cult classic that's reviled as much as it is revered. But Leisure is no Joel Schumacher. Like the main character in that psychological thriller, history teacher Mr. Dunbar is intended to be seen as an anti-hero. He's initially shown as a loving father with a gentle demeanor who's isolated by the pandemic, going through a divorce, and not allowed to see his daughter. With quarantine in place, he teaches a group of disengaged and disrespectful high schoolers online. The opening line is a student calling George Washington a "bitch" because he enslaved people, while Dunbar tries to find a way to explain that it was a different time. This is intended to encourage viewers to sympathize with Dunbar's feelings that the world is changing -- and, with it, his status. When he overhears a group of diverse students in a breakout session in their online classroom, he realizes that he (and, it's implied, all middle-aged White men) is now the punch line ... and the punching bag. So Dunbar decides to take back his power by hunting and gunning the kids down at school.
It's truly unclear what Leisure is hoping to accomplish with this insensitively revolting plot. Dunbar has the American flag hanging on his wall, he pushes back against wearing a mask, and he whistles "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" while entrapping the teens. He's portrayed as unstable but also with sympathy. Is Leisure pointing the finger at this type of "patriot," a word that's come to have double meaning in the United States? Or is this supposed to be a revenge fantasy for a generation of men who feel that the rug has been pulled out from under them? Either way, it suggests that victims -- and society -- are to blame. With school shootings a frightening real-life issue, Leisure's approach is both tactless and reckless. Last the Night is an example of a situation in which a filmmaker's lack of talent and common sense could actually risk fueling the flames of a vulnerable person looking to validate their world view. And, even if you remove all of the artistic irresponsibility, the script is illogical and poorly executed. This high school thriller should be expelled.
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.