A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Redemption sometimes involves sacrifice. Hate is powerful and can be passed down through generations. Religion can be adapted to control and manipulate. Primal instincts are strong and can make people go to any lengths to survive.
Positive Role Models
Reynolds is an aggressive demagogue who spreads racism and hatred, and threatens and bullies those around him. He attacks and kills without remorse. Fallon is mysterious and haunted by the past. He's quick to threaten violence and needs others' blood to survive, though attempts to take it from animals rather than humans. Yan is determined to maintain her dignity and protect her family, even in the face of racism, hatred, and threatening behavior. She is brave and capable, as well as caring toward her kids.
The town at the center of the movie is under the control of racist demagogue Reynolds, who spouts hatred about becoming a race of mongrels and uses language such as "you people," "Chinaman," "the Asian," and "gook." A teen is seen to mimic the adults' hatred, calling an Asian-American boy a "f---ing animal." However, the racist characters are portrayed in a negative light and the Asian-American family portrayed as strong and proud in the face of threats and abuse. First Nations people are briefly mentioned in the prologue as the source of the vampiric/demon myth of The Red Coat, which the White people of the town appear to buy into it to varying extents. A Black character is killed prior to narrative by being kidnapped from her bed and tied to a tree as an offering, and an Asian-American character is the first to be killed on-screen, which follows the Hollywood tendency to kill off non-White characters first. Following the disappearance of her husband, Yan is presumed more vulnerable by the White men in town, and Fallon's presence is used to protect the family from some of the locals' aggression. However, she is seen as strong and capable of doing whatever it takes to protect her family, as is the other main female character, Ma Reynolds, who shows strength and power over others despite her increasing physical frailty.
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Violence & Scariness
Dead animals and their entrails shown, as well as the entrails pulled from a human who is still alive. A vampiric/demon character is shown drinking blood. Bruises, cuts, and wounds are shown, as well as pools of blood, dead bodies, and rotting flesh with maggots. Bullying among teens includes physical fighting resulting in a bloody nose, threatening with a knife, and the accidental fatal stabbing of a teen, with blood on clothes and from mouth. Characters are hit with bottles, threatened with guns, knocked unconscious with a shovel, kidnapped and strung up to a tree as an offering, punched in the head until they fall unconscious, forced to drink from slit wrists, stabbed with a sharp object, and covered in gasoline and set alight. Threats are made to cut a throat and gut a child, and a character is shown hooked up to an intravenous tube that is later fatally tampered with by another. A funeral involves a dead body seen in a casket. There is mention of a person taking their own life.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Occasional sexual references.
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Language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "bastards," "f--k," "f---ing," "motherf----r," "bitch," "ass," "a--hole," "p---y," "hell," and "dammit," as well as racist terms such as "Chinaman" and "gook."
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Products & Purchases
Budweiser sign shown in bar. The painkiller Tylenol is mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes. Numerous scenes in a bar, where people drink shots and beer. Mention of illegally obtaining "oxy."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sunrise is a gripping and intense thriller with horror elements, strong language, violence, and themes of racism, preaching hatred, revenge, and redemption. The story takes place in a remote town that's controlled by an evil demagogue called Reynolds (Guy Pearce). Characters are stabbed, threatened with guns, punched, hit with objects, and set alight, and injuries, pools of blood, and dead bodies are shown. Fallon (Alex Pettyfer), a vampiric/demon character lives off blood and is seen to drink it from a cup, as well as devour it from animal carcasses. The White people of a town behave aggressively and threateningly toward an Asian-American family, using racist language such as "Chinaman" and "gook." Other strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Characters smoke and drink, and numerous scenes take place in a bar. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A dark, menacing atmosphere, gradual trickling of plot reveals, and wary, knife-edge performances from a strong cast make this a gritty, slow-burn thriller that will unsettle the soul. Sunrise has been hailed a vampire thriller, but the monster at its core is as much the bigoted aggression of the local town -- spouted and enforced at every turn by Pearce's fury-filled demagogue -- as it is any mythical figure. Its feeling of threat bubbling barely beneath the surface and flashes of savage gore remind viewers of the primal instincts that take over when survival is threatened, whether by lack of nourishment or those we believe would take what's ours. Pearce and Pettyfer make for brutal, brooding adversaries, and both Yu and Olwen Fouere strong matriarchs, ready for battle when pushed. Some of the mythical side disappears into its own sense of mystery, but the sheer tension and intensity make it difficult to look away.
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.