Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Survivor Movie Poster Image
Shooting, blood, death in uninspired thriller.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Don't trust anyone, and watch out for terrorists. The movie has text at the end that says 53 terrorist activities have been stopped in New York since 9/11, but no further details are offered.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kate had potential to be a strong female role model, but she spends most of the movie being a victim, being chased, and blundering into situations that she should have been smart enough to avoid.


Brief war footage and 9/11 footage. A man is set on fire with gas and a lighter. Helicopter crash. Characters are shot and killed; others are killed in a massive explosion. Bomb-making. Characters stabbed. Exploding buildings. Fighting.


Infrequent use of "f--king," "bulls--t," "bitch," "bastard," "damn."


Pepsi can shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters hold glasses of wine at a social event. Mention of a young man "swimming in dope."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Survivor is a thriller set in a post-9/11 world of terrorists and traitors. In addition to references to 9/11 and war, there's some pretty strong (though mostly bloodless) violence, including bombs and explosions, shootings and killings, stabbings, fighting, and death. Language is infrequent, with sparing use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," and "bitch." Characters hold glasses of wine at a social function, and someone is said to be "swimming in dope." Despite a talented cast and director, the movie feels rather cheap and thrown together, and it's doubtful many teens will be interested.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byzbkemper August 8, 2019

Way better than expected! Great Clean Action Movie

Some language, but not even a hint of sex or nudity.
Parent of a 10 and 15-year-old Written byfastraxsg July 5, 2015

Don't bother. Seriously.

forgettable. cliche. dissapointing. nothing special. uninspired. i'd keep going but i think you get the point...
Kid, 8 years old June 25, 2015

What's the story?

Foreign Service Officer Kate Abbott (Milla Jovovich) is stationed at the U.S. embassy in London, hired to sniff out any potential terrorists who might be trying to enter the country. Just as she thinks she's found one, her boss, Bill Talbot (Robert Forster), takes over. Later, when Kate's colleagues are killed in a restaurant bombing, she realizes that she was also a target; soon, a hired killer called The Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan) is after her to finish the job. To make matters worse, when Bill urns up dead, too, Kate gets the blame and finds herself at the center of a huge manhunt. Her only hope is to uncover the terrorists with the help of her trusted boss, Sam Parker (Dylan McDermott), and stop them before they can strike.

Is it any good?

Director James McTeigue has made solid movies before, but SURVIVOR feels second-rate, carelessly thrown together by all parties. While it's refreshing to see a thriller with a (theoretically) strong female lead, Jovovich's Kate Abbott is frustrating; she's supposed to be savvy and highly trained, but she makes every kind of rookie mistake. This kind of movie ought to be surprising, but instead, viewers are always a jump ahead of her. We already know who not to trust and where not to go, but Kate still does all of it.

And Brosnan should have had a great role, playing hired killer The Watchmaker, but his scenes are so flat and grim that it's difficult to have any fun with them. Images from and allusions to 9/11 add to the overall seriousness, but then the big showdown feels cut short -- as well as illogical.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Survivor's violence. Is any of it thrilling, or does it feel more serious, given the references to 9/11 and war? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Why are hired killers/assassins such interesting characters? What would that job really be like? Would it be easy or hard?

  • The movie claims that 53 terrorist attacks have been prevented in New York since 9/11. Does this information make you feel safe? Scared? How could you find out more?

  • Is Kate a strong female role model? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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