A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No real positive messages.
Positive Role Models
No positive role models.
Violence & Scariness
War and sci-fi violence. Soldiers shown getting killed by fast-moving ghost-like figures. A child is killed by these ghosts. Landmine explosions. Machine gun battles.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks alcohol from a flask, doesn't act drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spectral is a 2016 military-themed science fiction film about mysterious apparitions taking the lives of soldiers in war-torn Chisinau, Moldova. Unsurprisingly, there's frequent battle violence in this Netflix Original -- soldiers fire machine guns, shoot rockets. Numerous soldiers, as well as a young child, are killed by these fast-moving spirits -- they are killed by getting knocked to the ground (no blood). Cursing includes "s--t." While it's a movie more of interest to tech-savvy military enthusiasts, the action is more than enough to keep everyone else entertained, and its deeper themes of the role of advanced technology used either for peace or war should also resonate and inspire discussion among families. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Once the action gets going, SPECTRALl is nonstop action. The battle scenes are frenzied with edge-of-your-seat excitement, and unlike so many other war-themed movies, no clear-cut direction pointing to just how this movie will end. It's an interesting concept explored as fully as the technological details of much of the equipment used to fight the battle.
Where it falls short are the scenes before the action takes hold. The pacing gets bogged down with unnecessary interpersonal conflicts, overexplanations of character backstory, the technology on hand to fight the war, the reasons for the civil war in Moldova, and a debate about technology being used to better humankind or to line the pockets of defense contractors. All of this is presented with intrusive direction -- cameras constantly move, hop, and spin, almost as if the cameras themselves are as eager to get to real conflicts as the audience. Such aspects make this best for fans of sci-fi military movies.
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.