Parents' Guide to

Portal Runner

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Book-based fantasy sci-fi has some violence, drugs.

Movie NR 2021 72 minutes
Portal Runner Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Pretty scary movie for kids

I am surprised that this was rated as being for 10-year old kids. This movie is pretty intense and dark. It has some pretty scary scenes in it, and I would consider this movie to be a horror movie. I watched it with my twin 10-year old kids, and my daughter had to go upstairs because it got too scary.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This is a book-based Y2K fantasy sci-fi with a low budget that's balanced out by the acting and story. Portal Runner establishes the time (December 1999) through signposts like the screechy sounds of internet dial-up and an uncle who's obsessed with the cataclysms that await society when the year 2000 hits in just a few days, but it devotes a fair amount of time to evergreen teen and tween topics like dating and breaking up, peer pressure, angst, sibling rivalries. These side stories work, and maybe even help to distract from the cheesy special effects that do as much to give the movie a '90s vibe as an NSYNC poster on the wall and the references to "The ShamWow Guy," for better or worse.

There's nothing especially groundbreaking about it, but the movie is entertaining for what it is. Unlike so many low-budget movies, the acting does a lot of the heavy lifting to keep the story engaging enough, particularly from the actors playing the teens, Elise Eberle and Sloane Morgan Siegel. The writing and direction also keep a seamlessness to the story so that the teen topics rooted more in reality don't seem shoehorned into a fantastical story about travel through parallel worlds. Having these positive qualities in a low-budget movie is obviously much better than having top-notch multi-million-dollar special effects budgets for a weak story and poor acting, and Portal Runner overachieves in this regard, and makes the best out of what it had to work with.

Movie Details

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