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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 this comic book-based sci-fi vampire story has strong fantasy violence, especially in the graphically gory animated title sequence; it also has monster attacks, fighting, and weapons. The movie crams together bits and pieces of vampire lore, bleak futuristic imagery, and Western elements, as well as a negative attitude toward too-powerful organized religion. There's some brief sexual innuendo and one use of "f--k," though language in general is infrequent.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Many years ago, a man known only as Priest (Paul Bettany) and others like him fought a war against a race of faceless vampires. Now that war is over, and the priests are having a hard time fitting in ... until a new band of vampires attacks and kidnaps a member of the Priest's family. Along with the cowboy-like Hicks (Cam Gigandet) and one of his former colleagues (Maggie Q), Priest heads out into the wastelands beyond the dark, ruined cities to find clues. Unfortunately, it looks as though Priest's brutal past is about to catch up with him in the form of a new breed of vampire. Can he pull off the rescue and stop the new vampire attack?
Is it any good?
With PRIEST, former special effects man-turned-director Scott Stewart produces a movie much like his feature debut, Legion: It's great-looking but lifeless. The premise is an interesting combination of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, vampire lore, and the American West, and it cooks up dazzling landscapes and sets that deserve comparison to Blade Runner. But after that, the movie simply borrows ideas without much joy or enthusiasm.
The dour, depressing, wooden characters don't help much. Not even memorable cult actors like Brad Dourif, Steven Moyer (of TV's True Blood) or Madchen Amick (formerly of Twin Peaks) can help. Nobody appears to be having much fun. The scary moments are old hat, and the fight scenes are gray and choppy and don't generate much excitement. Fans of the comic book by Hyung Min-woo would probably do better to stick to the printed page.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How did it affect you? Do you think all of it was necessary to the story? How does it compare to movies with more gore and blood? Which do you find scarier?
How does this movie compare to other vampire movies and TV shows? Why do you think vampires are so popular? Why do you think some are so much more violent than others?
- In theaters: May 13, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: August 16, 2011
- Cast: Cam Gigandet, Karl Urban, Maggie Q, Paul Bettany
- Director: Scott Stewart
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and brief strong language
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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.