Polaroid

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Polaroid Movie Poster Image
Some violence, teen drinking in drab horror movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Standard horror movie fare. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teens drink at parties, smoke cigarettes. Adults are conveniently never around for most of the action, or else they're skeptical of the teens telling of deadly cameras. 

Violence

Two deaths by hanging. Implied sexual abuse of a girl by her father; the mother claims the girl was bullied at school and committed suicide as a result. Character ripped in half. Characters catch fire, suffer burns. Most killing is off-screen (no blood/gore), but death by stabbing is strongly implied. Teen boy punches police officer, gets arrested. Jump scares throughout. 

Sex

Teen girl poses in lingerie for a social media picture in hopes that a boy likes her. Brief kissing. 

Language

Infrequent profanity. "F--k you" used during a climactic scene. "S--t," "bats--t," "ass," "hell." 

Consumerism

Teen character makes reference to Urban Outfitters. Coca-Cola can clearly shown in one scene. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drinking at a party. Talk of teen characters being drunk. Brief cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Polaroid is a 2019 horror movie in which a teen girl finds an old camera that turns deadly to those who get their picture taken by it. There are two deaths by hanging, including a suicide, plus implied sexual abuse by a father of his daughter. A teen girl is shown getting verbally bullied in a flashback scene. A body is ripped in half, no blood or gore. Teens are shown tied up in chairs, pleading for their lives. Characters catch fire, suffer burns. There are jump scares throughout. One of the lead characters punches a police officer. Teens drink and smoke at a party. Finally, some profanity is heard, including "f--k you" which is said during a climactic scene. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypennyroyal80 March 6, 2020

Good movie

It's a good movie but not the best. Good content, entertaining. Could not sleep through this movie. It's very fast paced. A mature 10 year old who... Continue reading
Adult Written byKaewpit March 12, 2021

Another movie you may watch not worth to watch but not if you watch it will not waste your time

Hello everyone today I’m gonna review a horror movie name “ Polaroid 2019” I will tell you does this movie good or bad, worth to watch or not. This movie is sup... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byaqkta May 4, 2020

Suspenseful but a little uneventful.

This was a great movie! There were many plot twists that I didn’t expect and I was dying to know what would happen next. I enjoyed the plot very much and I did... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybdgtb May 4, 2020

Generic, but enjoyable, scary movie...

This movie felt like a PG-13 version of Goosebumps “Say Cheese and Die” with a deeper plot and villain backstory. Bird Fichter leads with strong decision making... Continue reading

What's the story?

In POLAROID, Bird (Kathryn Prescott)  is an introverted teen who loves photography and works in an antique store. One day, a teen co-worker named Tyler, who has a crush on Bird, comes in to the store with a gift for Bird: an old Polaroid camera from the 1970s. She takes his picture with it before leaving for the day. Later, Bird attends a costume party with her friends and uses the camera to take a group picture. But Avery, the mean-girl hostess of the party, snatches the camera away from Bird long enough to take a selfie first. At the party, Sheriff Pembrooke (Mitch Pileggi) arrives and tells Bird that Tyler was found dead inside the antique store. Shortly after, Avery is found dead, her neck snapped. Looking at the photos taken from the camera, Bird notices a shadowy apparition in the background of each picture that transfers to the next picture after the people in the other pictures are killed. With the help of her friends Devin, Mina, and Connor (Tyler Young), Bird must find out the terrible secrets lurking within the camera, and find a way to stop it before she and her friends are also murdered. 

Is it any good?

The entertainment value in this horror movie is, more often than not, unintentional. For instance, after the teens begin to learn that a malevolent spirit has killed two of their friends within the last 24 hours, one of the teens laments, "I mean, we shouldn't have to die just because we took a stupid picture!" The lighting in the movie seems to be almost entirely from nightlights on the "dim" setting, so much so that even a police interrogation is done practically in the dark. There's a drab darkness to practically every scene that, as Polaroid goes on, comes across as less a style choice and more of an attempt to cover up the action, or lack thereof. 

The lead character is presented as an introvert who's unpopular at the local high school because she -- wait for it -- wears a scarf. The police are skeptical of the teens and their crazy story of a demon murderer who appears via a vintage camera. The opening scene has no real connection to the rest of the movie. The result is a horror movie that comes across as both trite and underdeveloped, a half-baked premise like something from an episode of Scooby-Doo. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about horror movies. How does Polaroid compare to other horror movies you've seen? 

  • How does this movie attempt to rely more on suspense rather than on blood and gore to scare the audience? Is it effective? Why or why not?

  • How is lighting, or the lack thereof, used to set a style and mood in the movie? How is lighting used in other movies?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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