Survive the Night
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Bruce Willis co-stars in absurd, bloody hostage thriller.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Fighting/being violent are somehow seen as redeeming here, bringing family members closer together.
Positive Role Models
Rich is arguably the hero, although he's initially seen as a weakling (for refusing to fight his malpractice suit) by his entire family. It's only when he picks up a gun that he earns their respect. Frank also does his fair share, showing some bravery.
Violence & Scariness
Several scenes of blood and gore, including surgery. Frequent guns and shooting. Blood spurts and bloody wounds. Man bashes woman in the face more than once. Characters stabbed or slashed with blades. Characters stitch up their own wounds. Deaths. Punching, kicking, choking. Hitting with shovel. Characters threatened, held hostage. Characters moan, wail in pain.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief affection between spouses. Brief kisses. One character ogles another.
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Frequent strong language, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "goddamn," "hell," "balls," "hard-on," "scum/scumbag." Also exclamatory uses of "Christ" and "Jesus Christ" and a middle-finger gesture.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking. Brief beer drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Survive the Night is a violent thriller about a family taken hostage by two escaped criminals who need a doctor (Chad Michael Murray). Expect quite a bit of blood and gore, deaths, frequent guns and shooting, and a woman being punched by a man more than once. There's also slicing and stabbing, punching, kicking, hitting with blunt objects, and a character stitching up his own wounds. Language is also very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more. Sex isn't an issue other than spouses being affectionate with one another and a man ogling a woman. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink beer briefly. Bruce Willis co-stars, but his character isn't really the hero; it's a far cry from his best and could rank near his worst.
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Survive the Night
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What's the Story?
In SURVIVE THE NIGHT, two robber brothers -- the in-charge Mathias (Tyler Jon Olson) and the loose-cannon Jamie (Shea Buckner) -- successfully pull off a job and plan to flee to Mexico with their takings. But then Jamie shoots up a convenience store, and Mathias gets hit in the leg. To save his life, the brothers break into the home of Rich (Chad Michael Murray), a disgraced doctor who lost his license after a malpractice suit. The brothers accidentally shoot and kill Rich's mother and then take Rich's family -- wife Jan (Lydia Hull), daughter Rachel (Jessica Abrams), and father Frank (Bruce Willis) -- hostage. But Frank, a hard, retired sheriff, isn't about to take any of this sitting down. Before long, the entire family is fighting for their lives.
Is It Any Good?
This movie looks and sounds like a real thriller, but the premise and the characters' behaviors and interactions are so stunningly absurd that it's nearly impossible to turn your brain off and enjoy. Survive the Night sets up its six main characters through two irritatingly misplaced conversations. First, Mathias and Jamie escape from their robbery and then, even though they're in a hurry, pull into a parking lot to stop and discuss their plans to move to Mexico. Meanwhile, Rich's family has an argument about his decision to not fight the malpractice suit (about a man who died under his care). It's as if this is the first time they have talked about it, which is really hard to believe.
Plus, Rich's dialogue describing what went wrong is laughable: "I cut when I should have stitched or stitched when I should have cut ... I don't even know!" And then later, when the cat-and-mouse section starts, Survive the Night has a hard time keeping track of everyone. Characters are stuck in one place for long periods of time or else spend long periods of time stumbling around, bleeding all over the place, looking for each other, and shooting at (and missing) each other. There's even a completely pointless car chase. Perhaps most awkwardly, the movie tries to make the criminal brothers somewhat sympathetic but still treats them with contempt. This movie is so bad it will leave you gobsmacked.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Survive the Night's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it intended to be brutal, thrilling, or both? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
How does the movie characterize a strong character vs. a weak one? What are other ways to show strength other than violence?
Are the criminals in this movie relatable? Why do you think stories about criminals are often so fascinating?
What are the family relationships like in this movie? What do they argue about, and what do they talk about? How are they similar to or different from your own relationships?
- On DVD or streaming: July 21, 2020
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Chad Michael Murray, Shea Buckner
- Director: Matt Eskandari
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, bloody images and language throughout
- Last updated: April 28, 2023
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