A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Satanic is a horror movie about four young adults (including one played by Modern Family's Sarah Hyland) on a tour of several "satanic" locations in Los Angeles; naturally, they get into supernatural trouble. There are some spooky moments, but the characters are so awful and irritating that it's hard to care. There's a gory self-inflicted neck-slicing, plus other disturbing (though briefly shown) wounds, scratches, and scars. A brief fight scene includes punching, and a gun is fired. There's a non-sexual scene with a topless woman, plus occasional strong innuendo. Language is constant and extremely strong, including "f--k," "s--t," every conceivable permutation of both, and then some. The main characters briefly smoke pot and drink beer, getting mildly drunk; one character also briefly smokes a cigarette.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
On their spring break, Chloe (Sarah Hyland); her boyfriend, David (Steven Krueger); her cousin, Elise (Clara Mamet); and Elise's boyfriend, Seth (Justin Chon), decide to take a tour of Los Angeles' satanic landmarks before heading to Coachella. Following a man (Anthony Carrigan) from a satanic bookshop, they discover some kind of ritual taking place, and a girl, Alice (Sophie Dalah), fleeing from the scene. Alice picks up Seth's lost phone, and the friends agree to put her up for the night. But she unexpectedly takes her own life, warning them that she'll "see them soon." Not long after, strange things start happening, and Chloe finds herself in a terrible nightmare, unable to escape.
Is it any good?
This third-rate horror movie gets off to a bad start with its annoying, horrible characters. It's very slow to get going, and when it finally reaches a fairly spooky climax, it's too late to care. The characters are rude and selfish; they constantly swear and bicker, they're no fun to be around, and they quickly run through any kind of goodwill an audience might give them. When they get into trouble, it's not because of any kind of honest mistake, but rather because they're being awful.
Satanic's plot requires them to stay put in Los Angeles long after they should have left, and this puts a further drag on the storytelling. It's only when the foursome finally decides to leave that director Jeffrey G. Hunt manages some mildly inventive, haunted house-type chills, thanks to a dark, abandoned industrial building lit only by cell phones. Unfortunately, by that time Satanic comes across as little more than a technical exercise, because the characters have already ceased to matter.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie scary? What's the difference between scary and gory? What is the appeal of horror movies?
Why do you think the characters are so interested in exploring this dark world? Have you ever been curious about something that seemed dangerous?
- In theaters: July 1, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: October 4, 2016
- Cast: Sarah Hyland, Clara Mamet, Justin Chon
- Director: Jeffrey G. Hunt
- Studios: Magnolia Pictures, Magnet Releasing
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody horror violence, language throughout, brief nudity and some drug use
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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.