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Parents' Guide to

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Strange, unsettling fantasy has dark tone, some violence.

Movie R 2016 108 minutes
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Sometimes it can be good to think outside the box, but this strange, unsettling mishmash of dark fantasy, disturbing behavior, and child psychology is ultimately more dismaying than refreshing. Written by actor Max Minghella (based on a novel by Liz Jensen) and directed by the usually horror-focused Alexandre Aja, The 9th Life of Louis Drax moves confidently, as if it seems to know where it's going. But as pieces come into place, the picture becomes less and less satisfying.

The warm scenes with the avuncular Platt as a child psychologist seem to point toward something wonderful, while the seaweed monster hints at something frighteningly fantastic. But the movie keeps centering back on the weird, illogical choices of the doctor and the equally unsettling behavior of Natalie, who becomes less of a doting mother and more of a femme fatale. Finally, the end result, which could have been a sigh, is more of a "huh?"

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