A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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 ...
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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love thrills
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch